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"Tyranny of Judicial Taxation"

According to the January 3 Journal-World of Lawrence, Kansas, "The Kansas Supreme Court today said the $2.7 billion state school finance system is unconstitutional and gave the Legislature until April 12 to fix it." The paper also noted that a lower court "said the finance system shortchanged all students by nearly $1 billion." NewsChannel8 posted an ABC story that included this: "'It is clear increased funding will be required; however, increased funding may not in and of itself make the financing formula constitutionally suitable,' the court said in an unanimous, unsigned opinion," and added, "the state's school finance formula is based not on what it actually costs to educate students, 'but rather on political and other factors not relevant to education.'" But who gave the judiciary the right of taxation? Bob Barr, UPI columnist and former member of the U.S. House of Representative from Georgia, responds to that exact question in a column in today's Washington Times where he notes, "recent developments in America's very heartland -- in Kansas -- suggests the gathering glow of a disturbing trend in the states: taxation by judicial fiat." Barr also writes, "Perhaps the scariest part of this story, however, is that it may not be an isolated case. According to the Access Project, a liberal group in New York that supports higher education funding, 24 states . . . have pending lawsuits challenging levels of education funding." In May 2003, I referred to this Policy Analysis from the Cato Institute (Adobe Acrobat needed to read entire study) that focused on the Kansas City, Missouri school district there a federal judge ordered what amounted to a 'cost-is-no-object education plan.' Not unsurprisingly, the paper's executive summary noted, "The results were dismal." It's just my opinion, but every American taxpayer should send a copy of Barr's column to their favorite activist judge!

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