A Moment for Perspective

Dominic Savana, Cactus Student Editor

This past year the battle between Central Arizona College and Citizens for Fair Taxation has taken a toll on all parties involved. The circumstances have called on citizens, who are both logical and fair, to follow an ideology that is both harmful and denigrating of education and those who would try to pursue it. How could all of this have happened?

As of 2013, 45,508 people live in the City of Maricopa. 81,321 people live in San Tan. And while 347 people live in Winkelman, the Aravaipa campus is the sole opportunity for higher education in that sector of Pinal County.

When the board of governors moved for an 85 cent increase to property taxes per $100 assessed valuation (not the actual value of the house), a group of citizens was understandably unhappy.

The property tax increase affects all property owners, but it doesn’t necessarily help every property owner. The original increase would have been about $7/per month/per home owner (at a $100,000 assessment). This increase failed. The increase that passed for the 2015-16 budget is about $3.25/per month (same value assessed).

Put these increases in perspective with the $400 million in higher education budget cuts since 2008 in addition to Governor Ducey’s $99 million budget cut to community colleges. The budget increase for Central Arizona College is not only beneficial, it’s necessitated. Arizona’s legislators typically favor business and reallocate social service and education costs to counties. This would be sensible if education budget cuts lowered property taxes, but they don’t. In fact, education budget cuts place the onus on the taxpayer. Taxpayers have a right to be upset about the budget increase, but taxpayers shouldn’t be upset with Central Arizona College for implementing necessary budget increases to promote its success when the state won’t. Taxpayers should be upset with the state for continuing to dismantle an already poor education system.

The atmosphere here in Maricopa is complacent. Many of the students here don’t know what the designs of Citizens for Fair Taxation are; maybe Citizens for Fair Taxation should speak to the students here to inform them, to comfort them, to let them know how great their designs will be for residents in pursuit of higher education.

For the students who know what is being suggested, the fear in their faces is heartbreaking. These students are not just recent high school graduates. 47.8 percent of Central Arizona College’s student body is 25 years old or older. These students are mothers and fathers. They are hard-working citizens. They are tax payers. They wish to improve themselves and to improve their futures.

Citizens for Fair Taxation, if you wish to destroy the dreams of these men and women, the American Dream, you should come to Maricopa, and San Tan, and Aravaipa, and explain in plain English exactly why their dreams are not worth an extra $3.25 a month.

This is our home. Garland Shreves did not build these walls. Citizens for Fair Taxation nor their clipboards of signatures nor the white noise they create at board meetings built these walls. Civic and cultural partnerships, leaders, educators, and people with the desire to inform the population and improve the quality of Pinal County built these walls, for you, not them.

Now is the moment where you all need to speak and be heard. Attend board meetings and speak with the men and women advocating against you and for you. Maybe, if we can understand each other, we can understand why it is so important to defend this place, not just for you and me, but for them too.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);