Friday, February 06, 2009

Letter to the Editor

I find it regretful that SD25 requested an increase in their levy. I am, without a doubt, confident that the current $6 million would have passed with flying colors. I really agree with surrounding districts who have expressed the opinion that given the state of the economy it is not the right time to request an increase on their levies. I have a few issues to address:

1) The only price that is quoted is how it will only increase our cost a few dollars per $100k home. What about property taxes for businesses? Already AMIS is struggling in Pocatello -- mandating vacation without pay. Do we really need to push more businesses out of the area, looking for a more business friendly environment? I will find it laughable if this levy passes (one that hurts our local economy) when another levy was resoundingly defeated last year that would have helped our economy (see: Holt Arena).

2) Has SD25 considered taking budget cutting actions similar to other organizations? A moratorium on travel (see ISU, another state-funded institution), payroll and hiring freezes, delaying purchases, etc. I know that these ideas are not pleasant, but most employers are facing much tougher decisions and don't have the luxury of public financing. I know teachers are of the mindset that they are woefully underpaid -- but what other jobs come with as much job security, health insurance, vacation benefits, and a fully funded pension (PERS) at retirement? Not many. I think some AMIS workers would think SD25 teachers are sitting pretty right about now.

3) Do NOT tell me that if I vote no I am saying no to our children, and that we don't care about them. That is laughable. Studies have shown increased spending does not equal increased performance. I have a feeling that the extra $1.5 million will not go to programs to help children, but to utility and administrative costs, right? Bannock County has some of the highest property taxes in the state. There are other counties that are doing more for less. If citizens don't take a stand sometime and say NO to tax increases, we will end up like Iowa (where I recently lived); Iowans pay over $200 per month in property taxes on a $100k home. Do you know why? Because they never said no.

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