Hey, local voter. How would you like to pay more on your property tax bill, or have to pay a higher sales tax when you go to the grocery store or buy a set of tires?
Not very appealing, is it?
OK, how about this. How would you like to see your local schools deteriorate, making your property values and the education of your kids and grandkids decline? How would you like to see your local services slashed and have decisions about your safety made in Santa Ana instead of your own city?
Hardly anyone wants to pay more, but as Thomas Jefferson said, “taxes are the price we pay for civilization.” And sometimes the price has to be adjusted.
There are bond issues on the Nov. 8 ballot for four local school districts. The Garden Grove Unified School District will ask voters to approve Measure P to raise $311,000,000. The Huntington Beach City School District has Measure Q worth $159,850,000. In the Ocean View School District, Measure R is worth $169,000,000 and for the Westminster School District has Measure T, good for $76,000,000.
Most of the schools in the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area served by the OC Tribune were built in the Fifties and Sixties as the area boomed with new homes and new kids. The buildings – along with their plumbing, electrical, heating and air systems – are a half-century old or older.
As anyone who has ever owned property knows, there comes a time to fix up and modernize a building before it falls into disrepair and becomes less useful and comfortable. We believe that each of these bond issues is a worthy, responsible and timely response to the inevitable advance of the years. We urge you to vote yes on them as an investment not just in public education, but also in your own neighborhood and property.
In Westminster, there is a 1-cent sales tax on the ballot, which would bring in an estimated $13.9 million to the city, which has an annual deficit of $5 million. It’s not just a matter of “cutting expenses.” Westminster has already let go about one-third of its employees. Without this sales tax – which will sunset in 2022 – the city’s reserves will run dry in 2018, and the likely result is either elimination of all but the most basic services – no more recreation programs and drastic cutbacks in all other city services – or simply turning the city back to the County of Orange, either in terms of contracting with it for everything or simply disincorporating and going back to 1957.
You can be a fiscal conservative and still see how the sales tax – unwelcome as it is – is still the best alternative to meet the crisis, which has literally been decades in the making. It’s the grown-up path to take.
We urge our readers to vote yes on Measure SS.