We have two very important local issues to consider this November. I am not a proponent of tax increases and I do not feel increasing taxes is an answer to all of our needs, but I do believe in a community that supports itself and its essential services.
Strong schools equal strong communities. The Grand County School District has the second lowest wages for school teachers and staff in the state. The State of Utah has structured the format of educational dollars in a way that requires local communities to support their own schools. The only way for GCSD to increase teachers’ low wages and bring them up to average, is to have the citizens of Grand County pass a voted local levy. Grand County is one of five counties that have not passed a local levy. The State of Utah knows this and our schools suffer because of this. Until we make a commitment to support our schools locally, GCSD will continue to miss out on additional funding the state could allocate to our school district.
Grand County EMS and the Canyonlands Care Center have also asked the community for support. If passed, when purchases are made, sales tax collected will include this essential funding at a rate of one penny for every two dollars. The funds collected will go to help ensure that emergency services are available when we need them. Compassionate care for our seniors will continue to be available – without this measure, the care center may close. When we – and our visitors from around the world – shop locally, we will also be making a difference locally. The increase to our wallets would be 50 cents on $100, which seems so small in comparison to the real value of our emergency and senior services.
The GCSD, Grand County EMS and the Canyonlands Care Center all have an obligation to ask us for our help. It comes with a request for increased taxation, both of which have been asked for in a way that is responsible and considerate of the taxpayer. I will put my innate nature against taxation aside and vote yes this November on two essential tax increases so we can be a community that supports school teachers, supports the future of our children, the value of education, quality and dignified end-of-life care, and the emergency services we need to have a safe community.
None of us want increased taxes, but none of us want to see our vital services fail. We may feel overtaxed and overwhelmed by increasing cost of living. It may seem to us that our political/ environmental views have challenged the growth of industry and mineral lease funding. But these two measures go to the heart of our community, and are issues we can support for very little cost to each of us. Please also vote yes this November; support your community and your future.