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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Pima county bonds are all slam dunks

On the Nov. 3 ballot, Pima County voters will face a decision: approve the bond propositions and pay slightly higher taxes for the sake of improving the quality of life in our county, or vote no and save a few dollars while denying the county the improvements it needs. When you look at the facts, the decision is not a difficult one. Voters should approve the bonds; the cost incurred on an individual is minimal, and the amount of good the government could do with the money makes a slight tax increase worthwhile.

Do you hate potholes? Vote yes on Proposition 425, which will give our local government $200 million to improve our roads and highways.

Do you love a strong economy? Vote yes on Proposition 426, which will put $91 million into economic growth, our county libraries and workforce training. The money will go toward giving Pima County residents the training and skills they need to enter the workforce.

Do you want to bring money and jobs into Pima County? Vote yes on Proposition 427, which aims to promote tourism in the country. (I know—more snowbirds? But remember, snowbirds have money to spend and our local businesses will gladly take it.) This proposition includes projects that will benefit tourists and natives alike, such as expanding the Reid Park Zoo and the Children’s Museum Tucson.

Do you want your house to be swept away in a flood? No? Then vote yes on Proposition 431, which puts $17 million into preserving watersheds and protecting our communities from flooding.

Also included in the bond proposals are projects like natural area conservation, park improvements, historic preservation and the development of affordable housing. It’s obvious that these projects would greatly improve the quality of life for everyone in Pima County. So why are people so against these proposals?

Taxes.

I’m sure some readers cringed even at the sight of that word.

Yes, these projects cost money, and our local government gets its money by taxing its residents. Frustration over taxation is understandable; it’s hard to give away a chunk of your hard-earned income.

A knee-jerk reaction to any tax increase, no matter how small, is all too common and can be seen in the rhetoric of groups like Taxpayers Against Pima Bonds, which are responsible for the signs opposing the proposals that have sprung up on the streets around campus. Ironically, their website includes a section in which they beg for donations to fund their project. Sounds a bit like asking for money to fund government projects, minus the part where our roads get fixed, our economy improves and our county becomes a better place to live.

The truth of the matter is that if these proposals are approved, the burden placed on an individual is minimal. The median taxpayer would pay about $14 more annually. You probably spent more than that at Starbucks just last week.

The numbers associated with the proposals are in the high millions, and that can be intimidating. But the numbers associated with the cost to the taxpayer are small, and that combination is a good one. The government will have plenty of money to improve our county, and it will only cost each of us a few bucks.

We need to be willing as a community to fund projects that improve the quality of life of everyone living in Pima County. We need to approve the upcoming bond proposals.


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