'County Needs Federal Support We Had Before Reaganomics'

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Editor:

In response to Robert McKeever's letter (Oct. 24 Roundup) concerning the "out of control property taxes" in Gila County, he is correct in his assessment. We should review the reasons for the burden placed on the businesses and residential properties.

In the 1980s, President Reagan and Congress very sharply reduced federal assistance to Gila and other counties in lieu of the fact that more than 90 percent of the land area in Gila County is public land and is not subject to taxation, (including the) Tonto National Forest, BLM land and San Carlos Indian Reservation. We now receive about 1 percent of what we received in 1981 from the federal government.

In addition to that loss, the Arizona State Legislature, largely controlled by Maricopa County, has been derelict in financially assisting Gila County, especially in addressing the severe lack of funding for public education.

The burden of supporting county roads, public schools, the county hospital, county security and county services has been placed on the 4.5 percent privately owned and developed land area of the county.

We need to secure state legislation and action that provides much more state assistance to the outlying counties and restore the federal support we had before Reaganomics.

I have been a U.S. and Arizona government teacher since 1960 and have observed these disturbing developments for many years.

Paul R. Gonnerman, Payson

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