Originally Published: May 15, 2016 6 a.m.
I read the Proposition 123 pamphlet that was mailed to all of us, including all for and against comments. The “for” side presents a more qualitative emotional argument.
It is obvious they are desperate for funding, no matter where it comes from. The past arguments and court actions are meaningless, and future funding concerns are not relevant. They need the money right now, send us the check today.
I think the Legislature sees this group as education fanatics, recognizes their desperation and has decided to throw a $3.5 billion bone to them with the hope that they will go away for 10 years and not bother the legislators again.
The “against” side presents a more quantitative analysis. They point to the voters’ directive of 2001 and the court order from 2013. Another interesting fact is State Treasurer Jeff DeWit is against Prop 123. (He probably knows more about state finances and the financial reality of Prop 123 than all of us voters put together.) They highlight the precedent setting constitutional change versus the easier step of simply increasing taxes.
We discovered that all the funds do not go to education, but are shared with a continuing care retirement home and correctional facilities. Interesting. They expose the unknown of what happens in 10 years, after Prop 123 ends. What funding will be available, if any? Prop 123 does not address beyond year 10.
After reading everything, Prop 123 seems somewhat like a Trojan Horse; $3.5 billion is awesome, but watch out what you embrace. There is no question that it delivers the desperately needed funds but at what long-term cost? A yes vote will basically give the Legislature a “get out of jail free card,” the voters voice in 2001 will be ignored, and our legislators also get to ignore a direct court order.
I think what Prop 123 exposes is our Legislature’s sudden discovery of available funds, i.e. the State Land Trust, a pot of gold to create the bone to throw to the school districts, avoiding any tax increase.
I truly believe that a goal of the Legislature is to eliminate all state funding of education and over time force each community to fund their local schools, maybe after 10 years! It is obvious that the lawmakers see education as a trivial and valueless pursuit. There are far more important places for tax dollars than educating our children. If communities want first class education, fund it yourself.
If you have not read the pamphlet, I would strongly recommend you do. A lot of people invested their time to provide the voters with some quality input to help them make an informed decision on Prop 123.
William Von Rohr