I'm a pro-tax progressive, meaning if something is for the common good (like, say, education), then it's worth spending the money to do it right. Republicans think all taxes are bad, and they're dead wrong. Roads and highways are for the public good; even businesses couldn't survive without taxes.
Based on what I've read — including the Oct. 19 Xpress story, “School or Scandal?” — I'm against the proposed quarter-cent sales tax. It's not because it's too high. If anything, it's innocuous. It's not because I'm against A-B Tech. I think the school is doing a great job. But I have two problems with it.
For one, K. Ray Bailey and Carol Peterson both should have recused themselves from the issue, given their ties to the school. A-B Tech President Hank Dunn has to beat the drum to support the initiative; it's his job. Bailey's job is now to respect the will of the voters. Peterson is admirably not quoted in the article, but I wonder about her influence on the Board of Commissioners. Our elected officials should be beyond any inkling of conflict of interest.
Second, in the article, Dunn jokes, "We haven't found our Bill Gates yet." I'd suggest that if he wants to build a $55 million Allied Health and Workforce Development Building, he should ask Mission Hospital and other large companies who would clearly benefit from having skilled workers. Heck, get creative. Let's match, dollar for dollar, as a community (through taxes or otherwise), the funding the private sector provides. This way, Linamar Corporation could really give back to the community they suddenly seem so interested in.
That's my .25 cents.
— Mark Bloom