EDITORíS DESK: Amendment (6)66
In preparing for the Nov. 5 election, a registered voter could do worse than to read up on Amendment 66.
Most of us would agree that supporting public schools is a good and beneficial thing. For example, the buildings bond issue that District 11 passed in 2005 led to improvements at every school in the district. Prize examples on the Westside are the Coronado High auditorium, the geothermal projects at the Holmes and Washington (now Buena Vista) buildings and a remodel and air conditioning at Bristol.
So at first blush, a voter considering Amendment 66 might say, wow, look at all the money this will give to our schools (close to a billion dollars the first year alone). Some might even rejoice at the "two-tiered" taxing method, which ensures that people of greater means will pay at a higher rate. There's also the assurance that, going forward, 43 percent of state income will automatically go into a new State Education Fund, compared with just 7.2 percent that's guaranteed for education now.
So what could possibly go wrong? Oh, I don't know. How about everything? All that new money, earmarked just for educational needs? When it goes to the individual school districts, what's to stop them from using their now-freed-up old money (no strings attached) on such things as administrative perks or retirement pensions? And how would that mix of monies be tracked, in any case? Then there's the Big Brother element. I know this is going to anger some people, but Amendment 66 has some eerie similarities with Obamacare. Both increase taxes, both call for massive changes in a fundamental aspect of our lives (opening the door to corruption), both play on people's natural compassion for those less fortunate, and... (drum roll, please) neither was supported by the vote of a single Republican elected official. (Note: I realize that 66 was initiated onto the ballot - what I'm referring to is SB 213, the major legislation approved entirely by Democrats, who control both sides of the Statehouse, that will kick in if 66 passes.) Sadly (I think), for all-too-may Democrats, the no-Republ-ican thing is a source of glee, useful for political attacks (no compassion, etc.). I think that's partisan childishness. They'd whine if it happened to them. Consensus should have been sought. Vote no.