Letters to the editor for Oct. 16
October 9, 2008
A number of questions were raised at the Minden town hall meeting about the School Continuation Bond in Douglas County. For those who were not able to attend, let me provide some highlights:
— Why a 10-cent per $100 assessed value rate?
This is the existing rate. Voting “yes” would not increase taxes. The list of projects expected over the next 10 years will not require less than this.
— How does this compare with other Nevada counties?
Douglas County residents pay far less than others:
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— What’s the rush?
The school district can only generate capital funds three ways:
School bonds: The current bond will expire in 2009. If it is not renewed, the 10 cents now dedicated to the schools will be consumed by other government organizations. Any future bond would put schools at the “end of the line.” Because of tax caps, it would likely be uncollectible.
Government services tax: By statute, a share of GST only goes to schools if they are indebted (have an outstanding bond). Failure of the bond would eliminate this revenue and GST.
Building permits: New home fees include $1,600 for the schools. This revenue is unpredictable (in 2002-03, $1.4 million; in 2007-08, only $229,000, 80 percent less).
— When will bonds be issued? For what term?
When possible, projects will be paid for directly. When necessary, bonds will be issued. Statutes won’t allow the district to issue bonds with a term longer than the expected life of an asset (e.g., 20-year bonds won’t be issued for “10-year projects”). The Debt Management Commission must approve each issuance.
Unlike California, Nevada doesn’t provide capital project funding but leaves counties to find these funds. The KIDS Committee has considered many options and believes this is the best one for our county.
On the KIDS Committee since its inception, I believe this investment in our schools is vital to our community’s health. I encourage everyone to review the KIDS Web site, http://www.DouglasKIDS.org.
Candidate for Douglas County School Board
Most residents agree that the improvements to our aging school facilities and programs to be funded by Measure G are needed. The objections usually come in the form of, “We can’t afford more taxes right now.”
I would like to submit that we can afford this bond, and here’s how. The school district estimates that the average homeowner would pay $54.18 per year in increased property taxes. That amounts to a little more than $1 per week. Would you be willing to give up one soda or a pack of cigarettes or a Starbucks treat or one “fill in the blank” per week? How can we afford not to give up so little for so much gain? How can we be so stingy to our community, our kids, our future? How can we thumb our noses at the matching funds that educational leaders have worked so hard to procure? This is not the South Lake Tahoe community I know and love.
The district has provided answers to many of our questions about Measure G on its Web site: http://www.ltusd.org. Educate yourself, and then let’s come together Nov. 4 and pass Measure G with resounding unity. You won’t even miss that weekly latte.
South Lake Tahoe
Juanita Quye’s letter about Measure G (Oct. 7) repeats a common misunderstanding about California school finance. I am one of a group of concerned parents who has paid attention to Lake Tahoe Unified School District funding for several years now. Did you know California rates near the bottom nationally in public school funding? Since Prop. 13 and Equalization in the ’70s, annual school budgets cover salaries and benefits, books, transportation and supplies, but only about 3 percent goes to facility maintenance.
For a school district to build new buildings or do major renovation, the only way is for the local community to pay for construction costs through bond measures. If the school board is smart, they find matching grants through the state – like the $15.4 million match for Measure G.
Local bonds are the only way to renovate and revitalize our 40- to 60-year-old buildings that South Tahoe’s 4,000-plus students learn in every day. If you don’t think there is need, please visit the high school. There is need. That’s why El Dorado Union in Placerville passed a bond in June. That’s why Truckee, Douglas and Mammoth Lakes have measures on November’s ballot. Money won’t solve all our school’s problems. But if our school buildings are falling apart, our kids fall behind. Don’t give up on our community: Vote “yes” on Measure G.
South Lake Tahoe
Throughout its history, the Democratic Party has claimed to be the party of Main Street America and the champion of the less fortunate. Their “class envy” message is unwavering, revered and taken as gospel by the party’s loyalist. In speech after speech, we hear how the wealthy exploit the poor, and the only salvation for these victims of “evil” capitalists is to place their complete trust in the ever-benevolent Democratic Party.
For decades, the party leaders have promised to “change” (sound familiar?) this alleged inequality, enacting hundreds of entitlement programs, costing taxpaying Americans billions, if not trillions, of dollars. No matter to liberals, as the believers artfully overlook the fact that the results produced by these liberal legislated handouts are dismal at best. Perhaps the most telling example was what we witnessed when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. The aftermath exposed a huge population of destitute 21st-century black Americans subsisting for decades on welfare with little motivation to “change” their condition.
Proof of the failure of these programs is a matter of finally comprehending that this very appealing, but Machiavellian, Democratic Party platform, espoused year after year, election after election, is not designed to succeed but, unspeakably, has one prime goal: getting votes. If Democrats were sincere, the problem would have been solved long ago. If they ever actually succeeded in “ending poverty as we know it,” they would be out of power, i.e., their prime platform for attracting voters trashed.
Further, the abuse of their programs has been astronomical. These facts clearly do not bother Barack Obama. Listen carefully to Obama’s speeches, and you will hear this same “victimology” theme. Socialism and dependence on big government is the real “change” sought by our most liberal senator.
Consider this analogy. Reflect on the trillions of dollars spent to fight worldwide hunger, AIDS, etc. Again, decades have passed and Third World populations remain mired in revoltingly abject conditions. The main beneficiaries are the corrupt power-hungry despots who let their people starve while hiding their cash in Swiss bank accounts.
South Lake Tahoe
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