TAXES: Follow charter schools' example
I am a Gilbert resident, with two children in the Gilbert Public School system. I am writing about Propositions 100 and 406, both tax increases. In hard times, the private sector deals with income loss by finding cuts and getting by with less. They do not ask for taxpayer bailouts.
So I would like to suggest to the GPS school board that this is what they must do, as they are also facing tough economic times. They must find the cuts. People, teachers in particular, should be cut last. This is not the time to add all-day kindergarten. Classrooms do not need Smart Boards or computers, they need teachers. In 10 years I will not remember the fluff, but I will remember my kids' teachers.
Let me contrast the GPS system with the charter school that all of my children were educated in. Let me start academically. We chartered for elementary education and we public schooled beginning with junior high. Both of my older children tested into the public schools system one grade ahead minimum (one was two grades ahead) and both tested into honor classes. This was by GPS’s own testing standards. So I know the charter philosophy works. Here’s why it works. There are no smart boards, computers, nice landscaping, fancy buildings, just excellent teachers and administrators. That is the key, people. The charter school my children attend spends about $5,000 per student, as opposed to GPS, which spends between $10,000 and $15,000 per student. As I see it, GPS has lots of room to cut. I think GPS needs to re-evaluate their system, tighten their belt and get on with the charge of education.
My children are hearing from their schools that if their parents do not fund these increases, they will face fewer teachers next year. I resent my children being pressured into the pro-tax movement at school. No teachers should be cut, find the cuts elsewhere. My charter school has made and plans to make no cuts for teachers next year. I bristle when administration puts teachers out as the sacrificial pawns for their administrational mistakes. Remember, teachers are the jewels of education. Let us cut administration and keep teachers.
Here is another consideration. Unemployment was 9.9 percent in April. That is a huge terrible number. So is GPS really asking its voters to pay more for less at a time when the voters can afford to pay the least? GPS has been irresponsible, as have all school districts statewide. That is not my fault, it is theirs. It is not my responsibility to bail them out for their indiscretions.
Also attached to the tax increase are police and fire funding. These too should already be funded. When the budget dips, the funding for municipalities should already be secured. This should not be an add on. Perhaps the same financial mismanagement has occurred in these areas as well?
Mark Anderson, Gilbert
PROP. 406: It's not really about public safety
Public safety should always be Gilbert’s No. 1 priority. Police and fire protection should not be the last item on the budget to be funded. Public safety should not be funded “only if there are enough dollars left over after everything else is funded”. If the town prioritizes correctly, there is enough money to fully fund police and ﬁre safety personnel. Proposition 406 is not really a public safety tax at all. It is quite simply a “pet projects tax!” It was intentionally deceitful to label the tax as a public safety tax to create sympathy for the tax increase. This purposefully false title is being used to create fear by threatening danger to Gilbert families. The truth is that there is not presently any jeopardy to funding public safety. The mayor has publicly indicated this fact recently on more than one occasion. There is simply only jeopardy to funding pet projects, charities and false philanthropy. The majority of the current council likes to spend other people’s money. Your money!
Most of the members of the Gilbert Town Council do not understand the proper role of government. When it levies a tax, government takes money from its citizens by force. Taxes should not be used for any purpose other than a legitimate role of government. When it takes money for purposes other than the proper role of government, it is called legal plunder. Taxing and spending like Washington D.C., is not a solution to Gilbert’s ﬁnancial security. Gilbert cannot print money. It must live within it’s means. In a recession, this means that some social programs must be allowed to look to other sources for funding.
A no vote on 406 will force the town council to consider and implement all possible cost saving solutions before raising tax rates on the citizens.
“Quality of Life” in Gilbert is more closely associated with protecting families and personal property rights than it is with taxing citizens to pay for public funding of charitable causes and free recreational pursuits. Once this 17 percent sales tax increase is in place it is unlikely that it will ever go away.
We have had enough of little ideas like increasing tax rates. Let’s look to real long term solutions. Please join me on Tuesday, May 18th, and vote no on 406.
Dwayne Farnsworth, Gilbert
PROP 406: Safety concerns are real
This letter is to inform the citizens of Gilbert what is really happening in their fire department. Despite what you may have heard from Proposition 406 tax opponents, there IS a massive budget deficit in the Town of Gilbert. It is bad this year, and projected to be a lot worse next year and the year after that. The Gilbert Fire Department has been shutting down between one and three fire engines EVERY DAY since last July, and sometimes even a battalion truck is unstaffed.
This is called a “brown out,” when a fire engine goes “out of service” and sits unstaffed at a fire station, caused by a lack of funding to backfill positions. This will have a negative effect on response times, as you can imagine.
I have lived in Gilbert for 24 years, and for the first time I am concerned for our future. I understand that citizens are displeased with some of the town council’s decisions. They seem to be funding other areas before public safety.
Unfortunately, Proposition 406 isn’t about whether or not public safety is funded first. It is about stabilizing our town’s public safety as we know it today. As small as this tax is, it won’t solve all of the public safety budget issues. It will definitely save jobs and help keep firefighters and police officers on the streets. If you ever had to dial 911, you know the importance of this.
I am sorry that the tax opponents have to try to confuse everybody with their signs; apparently this has become their main strategy.
I urge the citizens of Gilbert to come together and vote yes on 406.
Jesse Rambo, Gilbert
IMMIGRATION: Athletes should stick to what they know
So quaint to hear millionaires tell the rest of us we need to put up with the minor inconvenience of having illegal aliens in our state. If you want a real hoot, see if you can find a tape of Darryl Strawberry visiting Fox and Friends the other morning. You talk about fish out of water. Strawberry was asked his opinion on baseball being asked to pull the all-star game out of Arizona because of the immigration law. He thought it was a good idea and that he didn’t agree with the new law. When further questioned to what part he didn’t agree with, his answer was he couldn’t really say. Yes, I am here on national TV taking a hard stand on a “controversial” issue and I don’t really know why — priceless. Perhaps he should stick to the nonsensical interviews where answers like “We just need work harder and play our game” and the like are suitable and complete responses.
Similarly, our friends Robert Sarver, Steve Kerr and Steve Nash might want to stay away from such heady topics like creating laws that clear the way for enforcement of laws already on the books. My guess is they won’t get any hard follow-up questions from the folks who push forward the microphone and allow them to voice their opinions. Their opinions are theirs and certainly it is their right to have them. Here are a couple questions they might want to consider: When you refute such a law, what do you tell people who have had their identity stolen by someone here illegally? No answer, OK, here’s an easier one, what do you tell business owners when illegal immigrants congregate in front of their businesses and customers shy away? Yes, Los Suns, I get it. One more, what do you tell the young wife and mother when her police officer husband is shot by an illegal immigrant? Maybe they just need to work a little harder and play their game.
Ed Glancy, Mesa
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