Local option sales tax no option for students

Benjamin Studenski

To the editor:

I would like to encourage all students to vote against the upcoming local option sales tax and force the government to keep its promises.

Governments at all levels have often misled the public about exactly where public money will be spent.

For example, at the local level, a past GSB president considering reelection took mandatory student fee money out of a GSB account that was earmarked to promote the legacy of George Washington Carver.

He then gave money from this fund, on his authority alone, to a student group for an activity that was totally unrelated to Carver’s legacy.

At the national level, the billions of dollars that have been awarded from lawsuits to help the states cover the cost of treating tobacco-related illnesses are being allocated for many purposes that have nothing to do with tobacco.

This goes to show that the public needs to be careful, to make sure that our money is actually going where we are told it is.

One way to do this is to vote against the local option sales tax.

This tax will raise the sales tax by 1 percent to help, as always, “the children.”

In Ames, we are told the money will go towards improving the high school.

But how can we be sure? And where will any extra money go?

If more money is needed for an improved school, a better way to raise it is through a bond issue supported by property tax.

For a bond issue, the government is legally required to spell out exactly how much money will be raised and where it will be spent.

This will not mean students will escape paying a tax to improve the high school — additional costs will be reflected in the rent of off-campus student’s pay and in higher store prices due to a higher cost of doing business.

However, by making the government legally responsible to spend money where it says it will, government will be less inclined to try and pull a fast one and spend the money on other things.

Bonds are also eventually paid back in full, and on a set schedule.

Something tells me a sales tax increase would stay in place long after the supposed purpose for its increase had been met.

The old joke is that the only place to be that is more dangerous than being between a mother bear and her cub is to be between a bureaucrat and some public money.

Before voting for any tax increase, make those proposing it show beyond doubt that it is necessary rather than listening to them vaguely mention “the children.”

But the local option sales tax should be opposed, regardless.

Even if taxes need to be raised for a better high school, they should be raised in a way that will ensure legal accountability, not in a way that requires blind trust in the government to keep promises.

Benjamin Studenski


Industrial engineering