The Great Tax Switch After years of painful maneuvering, Michigan may have found a better way to finance public schools

Back in the 1640s, when the current method of financing public schools was developed, if a man had money, he put it into his land. There were no IRAs or Social Security. With property the best gauge of wealth, it made sense to pay for public schooling out of property taxes. Nor did anyone wonder about the wisdom of yoking schools to local real estate values; if nothing else, taxpayers knew exactly how their money was being spent.

After 350 years, however, methods have finally changed. Or so believes John Engler, the Governor of Michigan. After years of debate about school...

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