The world economy was already limping along. Now forecasters expect it to be crawling at a snail's pace, due to high oil prices, Japan's meltdown and Europe's financial meltdown. Those things and more will apply brakes to any recovery the economy can muster.
With between a quarter and a third of U.S. home sales being foreclosures over the past year -- and with foreclosures 27 percent cheaper on average than other homes -- values have sunk.
It is in this real-world environment that the Columbia County Board of Education voted last week to raise taxes on property owners.
The half-mill increase, to raise $1.9 million, will cost taxpayers $24 for every $100,000 of house.
The school board could have reduced or even eliminated the added burden on property owners by issuing employee furloughs of up to three days, much as many private entities have had to do -- as well as layoffs and consolidations. Nope. They voted 4-1 to put the full financial burden on you.
Board member Mike Sleeper was the only one with enough sense to oppose it.
"I find it difficult to go to our community to shoulder this (alone)," Sleeper said. Good for him. Bad for taxpayers that he was outvoted.
The world has changed. The taxpayer's wallet has bottomed out every bit as much as home prices. When will some people learn that?
Public hearings on the tax increase will be held at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. July 12 and 8 a.m. July 19.
You may want to let them know what you think.