Group aiming to take down school levies

SPOKANE, Wash. - Nearly every district in Spokane County is asking for voters to approve multi-million dollar levies that would fill roughly 25-percent of their annual budgets. But now the "Citizens for Responsible Taxation" are aiming to take down school levies.

The anti-levy group has been posting its message all over town on billboards and fliers, warning neighbors that levies will mean tax increases.

School districts say the group is doing nothing but spreading false information.

The basics have always been reading, writing and arithmetic but, when it comes to school levies it seems both sides have their own way of doing math.

The Citizens for Responsible Taxation have a website attacking levies. They say, for example, the Central Valley School District wants $81 Million. Melanie Rose with the district says that's not right.

"The 81 million dollar amount that's on that mailer is erroneous," Rose said. "It's 27.1 million per year that our board has to approve to collect from our tax payers."

It could be less than $27 Million - or more - Rose says, depending on how much the state gives schools. But more importantly, she says this is not a new tax, as opponents claim.

"First of all this is not a new tax, this is a replacement tax of an expiring levy," that voters approved three years ago Rose said.

She's worried the billboards and website are just confusing voters and if the levies fail, districts will lose 25-percent of their annual budgets.

"Things like sports and drama and art and music and all of those types of things would very likely be gone," Rose said.

It would have been good to get the point of view from the Citizens for Responsible Taxation on this story and if you're wondering who's behind the organized anti-levy effort, well, that's a good question.

There's no contact information on their website, nor does the group appear to be registered with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.

If you'd like more information about what the levies mean to you, check out the levy information for individual school districts in Spokane County as well as the Citizens for Responsible Taxation website.