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Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Stop me before I tax again!

Get your virtual pitchforks in position, your keyboards greased, your beer mugs refilled and your wit sharpened.

Yep, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the outrageous and personal attacks received from last week’s mere mention of an “okey-dokey” to a possible tax increase for those making over $250,000 annually, I believe it only appropriate to now announce my support for our local school district’s upcoming ballot issue known as: 3B.

Hooray! Another tax increase! I’m so happy!



Or not.

I loathe labels, yet those who insist upon slapping them across my name call me a fiscal conservative and a social liberal (among other things …), which I suppose means I wish for the government to be lean and mean while also providing a safety net for those truly in need.

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Never mind that I can be the exact opposite at times (it depends upon the issue), but I’ll tell you right here and now why I am voting for 3B.

Are you ready?

Here it comes: I am voting for 3B because I have a 12-year-old in the public school system.



That’s it.

I believe there is nothing more important to the future of this planet than the education of the next generation so they will at least have an opportunity to fix all the crap we have collectively screwed up.

Whatever the question, lowering educational expectations sure ain’t the answer.

This does not, however, mean I simply wish to throw money at the problem and hope it fixes itself, but I do know that the millions in spending cuts for our local schools in the last few years has had a detrimental effect upon educational possibilities for my son, and sitting back and watching those possibilities shrink even smaller is simply not the correct approach.

You want to compare spending growth to inflation?

Knock yourselves out, but I don’t really care.

You want to debate whether it is more of a spending problem than a taxing issue?

Ditto.

You want to debate funding per pupil or how we in Colorado have one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation? How about arguing over how many pizzas were purchased for a teachers conference dinner or how many first-graders received free movie tickets?

Oh, please.

Like politics, all education begins locally (home first, school second), and the last thing you will ever hear from my lips is the following: “Look son, education is important and all that, but ‘these people’ need to learn a lesson about fiscal responsibility, and if you have to suffer in order for me to help teach them that lesson, then so be it. …”

Not gonna happen.

While I have no problem supporting those fighting for better efficiencies in school district management, I refuse to bow to those who insist upon an all-or-nothing approach regardless of the consequences.

But a word to the wise for those working hard to sell 3B: Playing the Chicken Little card rarely works for elections.

Better to sell facts, not fears.

No matter how this issue is resolved, my child, and yours, deserve better.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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