Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do The Right Thing

Tuesday night was a big night in the Riley house, and I'm not just talking about Lost. Voters in Arizona overwhelmingly passed a 1 cent sales tax increase to offset massive cuts to education, public safety and health services. With the current mood of the state, I was expecting the measure to be shot down rather handily. That's the great thing about this life, you never know. Not only did the sales tax pass, it passed by a nearly 2/3 margin. Not to be hyperbolic, but this was a bi-partisan victory for common sense and decency.

I don't want to get all political, I am a registered independent after all, but I do think there's a lesson here. What the results say to me, and I hope our state legislators, is that people don't want to destroy the education system to balance the budget. I know times are tough; the budget deficit is no joke, but schools have already shouldered their fair share of cuts in this state.

We can't just cut spending to vital programs to get ourselves out of trouble, there has to be some new revenue coming in. No one wants to pay more taxes, including me, but we're not going to get out of this mess without some sacrifice. I think we all realize this, but the definition of sacrifice has been very limited. Too many legislators in this state have decided that sacrifice can only mean cutting spending. I hope they see things a little differently after this vote. Arizonans showed they are willing to pay a little more to provide their children with the best education possible.

We're still way behind the curve down here in the desert. We need to be talking about spending more on education, not less. For one night though, Arizonans did the right thing. It's a start.

1 comment:

  1. That is awesome. I'm independent as well, and it's so refreshing to see, as you say, bipartisan support for this sort of thing.

    Now if that can just happen here in Michigan. They're doing an awesome job of trying to balance the budget on the creaking backs of educators, around here.