During a debate on Tuesday evening, a good number of local senior citizens sat in the Payson High School auditorium and heard this argument about the proposed tax increase for education funding:
"These aren't your kids," the opposing debater said. "You shouldn't have to pay for other people's kids."
We don't believe this selfish sentiment is shared by the majority of our retired or senior readers. It is our hope that the children of this state have a collective family of wise grandparents who recognize the role public education has played in the lives of their children, and their children's children.
But as we walk with our children, holding the hands of future leaders, we have somehow lost our grip. Today, Arizona ranks 50th the worst in the nation in expenditures per student, which is reflected in poor student performance in a variety of areas.
We urge everyone to vote "yes" on Prop. 301. It will increase the state sales tax six-tenths of 1 percent from 5 percent to 5.6 percent, but this small increase is an investment in something far more valuable.
When we pay the additional sales tax on a $100 purchase, our 60 cents the price of a candy bar will repair aging school buildings, fund school safety and character education grants, provide tutoring programs, finance five additional school days, and help increase teacher salaries.
Prop. 301 also requires the state to increase the amount it spends on schools by 2 percent per year.
It's time we invested more in our young people. They are the hope for the future and how we care for them is a measure of our past.