Our elected Representative Bill Konopnicki has told our college leaders, and in essence all Gila County residents, "over and over and over again" that Gila Community College will never be a full-fledged college because we won't have the population or assessed valuation that previous legislation requires. This is in spite of the fact that Gila County has a much greater population and assessed valuation than Graham County, who receives $11 million in State of Arizona aid annually for Eastern Arizona College, while Gila Community College doesn't receive one red cent in state aid.
We know Graham County may have been "grandfathered" in by some very convenient legislation that "grandfathered" Gila County out of state funding. That's not the point. The fact remains Gila County taxpayers are paying state taxes that help fund every other community college in Arizona, except their own community college. This is a classic case of taxation discrimination.
Instead of stonewalling Gila Community College and the voters of Gila County that "nothing can be done", and "there are only three of us in the legislature," Bill Konopnicki, Jake Flake and Jack Brown should be working to put our college on equal ground with Eastern Arizona. They also need to make sure Gila County taxpayers are being treated fairly. Interestingly enough, the three legislators also represent Graham County.
Gila County voters need to hold our elected representatives and senator accountable on this issue. If Konopnicki, Flake and Brown can't, or won't, get us fair treatment, we need to remember that in the next election, and not support politicians that allow Gila County taxpayers to be discriminated against.
As for the potential lawsuit in federal court against the State of Arizona, it is a last resort for Gila County, but one that we must take if our legislative representatives wouldn't fight for us.
Doug Brackin, Payson