There are many reasons to be against the proposed Summit County sales tax increase.
A sales tax increase hurts people of lower incomes the most. Buy school clothes, a toaster, a book, toilet paper or any nonfood item, and you will pay more tax. If your budget is tight, the tax is a bigger bite out of your household income. Wealthy people may not care as much about a 0.25 percentage point increase on a six-carat diamond tennis bracelet.
The proposal is touted as 0.25 percentage point increase to a 6.75 percent tax, a mere 3.7 percent increase. This description is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The increase — for the county — would add to the current 0.50 percent going to the county. A yes vote would increase the county’s portion by 50 percent.
More, bundling safety with a sports arena confuses the issue. Anyone favoring both or neither issues has a clear, yes-or-no choice. Those who prefer only safety or only an arena may be tempted to vote yes, perhaps because of fears for their safety. Still, if you are against one, you have a real dilemma. The increase should be unbundled into two proposals.
Finally, have you wanted to attend an event and told yourself, “Oh no, there is no new arena”? There are current venues for events. If a new arena is a great idea, finance it the traditional way: Get private investors and sell tickets. That’s what free enterprise is all about.
I’m startled the county executive and County Council have proposed this bundled tax increase. I am astonished that 11 prominent community leaders are supporting it, especially those who usually refrain from penalizing people of low incomes, generally endorse fair politics and typically support competitive enterprise.
Now we can anticipate mailers, posters, newspaper ads, TV ads and lots of speeches telling us to finance an arena and protect our safety. An arena and safety should not be part of the same issue; they are separate issues. An arena does not need to be championed in a news conference at the County Emergency Operations Center. Don’t let anyone combine or confuse reasons for a sales tax increase. Vote no when the sales tax increase is on your ballot.
Undue influence ?of big money
Most of us are painfully aware of President Obama’s shortcomings, yet we have people in Congress proud and eager to make the situation even worse, putting their political goals far ahead of any patriotic ones they might hold.
This is a perfect example of how self-inflicted wounds are the most difficult to heal. Ironically, all sides cater to a small faction of insiders that always values investors and management over workers and unions.
This faction strives to drive a wedge between the public and private sectors, when we all know that neither is perfect or inherently evil, for both can solve more problems than they create when led by competent people. With big bank accounts, big donors can build their own echo chamber that reverberates disdain for all who work in the public sector.
Michael J. Walzer
Adjust the focus ?of the university
The details of UA President Luis Proenza’s retirement include a 10-year, tenured faculty position at an annual salary of $325,000. This is extremely lopsided. I feel the trustees and administration should emphasize providing a quality, meaningful education at a practical cost, scrutinizing budgets and building programs for economic viability.
Further, the financial situation for students and adjunct professors is a disgrace. Additional factors should have been considered before giving Proenza such a sweet deal.
Student debt is high. Educational costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, in excess of the Consumer Price Index, and are coupled with low graduation rates. There is a positive ripple effect of graduates with less debt, which enables them to buy homes, cars and pursue other economic activities.
The costly new construction of limited-use facilities such as the new football stadium and the proposed arena do not serve the basic needs of the student body, while increasing operating expenses. Meanwhile, students are deprived of the individual guidance of their adjunct professors, who must be in transit to their next college job.
It is time the university and administration address the deplorable conditions facing adjunct faculty, which makes up more than half of the teaching force. Shockingly, some adjuncts have applied for unemployment compensation for the summer months. This is a nationwide problem.
The focus of the university should be developing those factors that enhance educating undergraduates in areas of needed expertise.