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Mon, Dec. 16

Friday Catchall: Growing sales taxes, terrorists & fire response times

Arizona Republican Kelli Ward speaks to the media May 2, 2018, at the state Capitol in Phoenix. (Bob Christie/AP, File)

Arizona Republican Kelli Ward speaks to the media May 2, 2018, at the state Capitol in Phoenix. (Bob Christie/AP, File)

The Friday Catchall:

• TAX FOR EDU — This week, Kelli Ward, the head of the Arizona Republican Party, sought to rally GOP lawmakers to allow on the 2020 ballot a plan to boost the state sales tax for education.

It would be an increase of four-tenths of a cent.

The idea is for lawmakers to get behind the plan by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, to put the issue on the 2020 ballot. But Ward is getting pushback from Republicans.

I am split on this one.

On the one hand, our sales taxes are getting out of control. During the Great Recession, I stated in this space that state and local needs will eventually be placed on our shoulders — whether through property taxes or sales taxes.

And it keeps coming true.

That said, no other group needs it more than our educators. Folks, these are the people we trust our future, our children with; in Arizona they still operate on budgets equivalent to 10 years ago; and teachers should not need to buy supplies with their own money (but they do).

Two things would be good about a 2020 ballot measure for this:

— Voters could use it as a referendum on state support of education; and,

— A sales tax increase taxes everyone, not only property owners.

Think about it.

• McVEIGHLast week I told you about my connection to the Oklahoma City bombing coverage, having worked and lived in Kingman at the time.

Thank you, everyone, for the feedback about my column.

Clarification, for those on social media who missed it — the “half” in 168.5 killed was the person who lost a leg but authorities never found the person; thus, I suppose they figured no complaint, no identification, no “whole” person died.

Also, in the early hours and days of the news that bomber Timothy McVeigh lived in Kingman, Arizona, many media reported incorrectly his dad was a school administrator. Seems Kingman was home to the “McVey” family, the patriarch of which had worked in the local school system. (And one of their sons was named Tim.)

Wrong spelling. McVeigh was from Buffalo and Pendleton, New York, and his father is William.

• SIDE NOTE — What fueled homegrown terrorist Timothy McVeigh’s desire to kill on April 19 was what happened on that day two years prior.

April 19 also was the date of the Waco, Texas, siege (the Branch Davidians, 1993, when 93 men, women and children died).

He also was upset over the 1992 Ruby Ridge incident (Naples, Idaho, August 1992, shootout), and reportedly because he washed out of U.S. Army Special Forces training.

• SCAMS — They’re not going away. People continue to try and steal our money and identities. Just this week, the Sheriff’s Office thwarted the transfer of $5,500 belonging to a 92-year-old to scam artists.

Please, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

• FIRE RESPONSE — We also reported this week about how the Prescott Fire Department’s response times continue to grow.

Some see it as a tradeoff — reduce the City of Prescott’s unfunded liability for public safety retirements (using a sales tax, by the way) and put off current police and fire needs.

That’s like watering dead grass and ignoring the growing weeds.

By the way, Prescott’s fire staffing affects us all — since they are in a mutual-aid agreement with Central Yavapai Fire. That response into the city pulls firefighters away from district needs.

This isn’t only about Prescott.

• PICK OF THE WEEK(Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): the 4-H/FFA Expo continues this weekend at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds.

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.

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