The Business of Education?

Exploring New Options After State Funding Dries Up

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James Peru, Cactus Editor

For a previous article (see front page), covering the recent tax increase approved by the college’s governing board, I interviewed a man by the name of Garland Shreves. Shreves, a leading voice for The Citizens For Fair Taxation, and the acting president of the Republican Club of Western Pinal County, has not been quiet about his dissatisfaction with the latest rise in taxes. During my interview with Shreves, I attempted to get a better understanding of what was causing such an outcry, and whether or not all of the banter was just a result of the political polarization induced by the issue of tax increases. “I can easily afford to pay the taxes,” Shreves said when asked about how the increase will affect him financially. “I’ve spent more on the recall than these taxes would cost me in a decade,” he continued.

The comment piqued my interest—it was not the amount of money that seemed to matter the most for Shreves and the members of his clubs; it was the principle of paying more in taxes.

What is interesting about tax increases is that those who are usually most in opposition to them are often those who can most easily afford to pay them. While many choose to ignore it, a cycle has begun: the state is shifting the financial responsibility of funding higher education onto the citizens of the county; now certain citizens of the county are attempting to shift the responsibility onto the students, in the form of raised tuition, and thusly, more student debt. Gone are the days when subsidizing education was seen as a priority for this state.

So how do we move forward? Is the answer to close down campuses, as Shreves has proposed? Is it to operate the college like a commercial business, making education less of a priority than cutting every possible expenditure, until it ultimately shrinks into oblivion?

If you are interested in offering your own take on the issue, please send an email to cactus@centralaz.edu.