Letters, Oct. 21-23: Math on Amendment G doesn’t add up
Math doesn’t add up
The math on Amendment G doesn’t add up. Supporters say that one pot of money — income tax — is too volatile to fund one thing — education. So they want to stabilize education funding by funding one more thing — services for children and those with disabilities from that same one pot of money. Two things for the price of one? The amendment neglects to mention that those important services cost $600 million a year. So they’re going to fund underfunded education by taking away $600 million from education and using it for something else? Something doesn’t add up.
Is it coincidence that paying for an additional $600 million of services from the education fund suddenly frees up $600 million in the general fund, no strings attached? Where exactly will the legislators spend that extra $600 million?
We stopped their ill-conceived tax reform with a referendum. Now they’ve dressed tax reform in lamb’s clothing — think of the children and people with disabilities! Who would vote against them? But this is NOT a vote about services for these people, the state will continue to provide these critical services regardless of which pot of money is used. This really is a vote for tax reform that will affect us for generations. Changing the state Constitution should be done in plain sight. When it’s done in the dark like this, we are left to speculate why.
Is the Legislature afraid to share their true intentions? Why? Why does the Legislature want access to an additional $600 million a year freed from any spending restrictions?
Say NO to back room deals. Demand transparency. Expect high-quality tax policy. Vote NO on Amendment G! We spoke and they repealed the tax reform, yet they still didn’t get the message. Speak up again and let them hear you!
Help public education
Amendment G is too vague and is harmful for educational funding in the future!
I am a special education educator. I love students and individuals with disabilities. I understand their many challenges. We all want good services for individuals with disabilities, but Amendment G is not the way to provide them. Because Amendment G includes both “students and individuals with disabilities,” the taxes which should be used for funding public education could be used for social services, medical expenses, transportation, housing, etc.
In 1945, Utah voters designated the funds from income taxes to support public education, probably because of the larger number of school-age children in Utah. In 1995, however, an amendment was passed to share educational funds with higher education.
I have been a regular teacher, special education teacher and administrator, and spent 10 years after my retirement at the Utah Legislature following educational programs and funding. I watched legislators haggle over educational funding each year and reduce the funding as much as possible. Amendment G would further dilute public education funding.
One way to find out if Utah is making the best effort in funding education is to see what proportion of personal income goes to support public education. A report, produced each year and often called Educational Funding Effort, compares Utah to similar states. Before 1995, Utah ranked 20th in the United States in the proportion of personal income going to education. Now Utah ranks 39th because we spend a much smaller proportion of taxes on public education. As Utah reduced Educational Funding Effort, student scores declined. In 1995, Utah K-12 students tested well above the national average. Now Utah K-12 student scores are at or below the national average.
Please help public education and vote no on Amendment G!
Officials must condemn conduct
I am not surprised that the mayor of Park City, the City Council and the Summit County Council have tried to incite hatred against me for certain comments I made during a Zoom meeting of the Town of Hideout by way of “Statement” masquerading as “News” on the Park City website. Saddened, a little, but not surprised. Perhaps I should just ignore the statement but that is not my practice.
The remarks I made to the Hideout Town Council may have been intemperate, and for that I apologize to the Town Council, but they were understandable in context.
On a prior Zoom meeting of the Town Council, everyone attending was treated by vicious criminals to the federal and state cyber offenses related to Zoombombing including hard-core pornography, videos for burning bodies and other attendees trying to assume the identities of the Town Council members. A prior Zoom meeting of the town even had to be abandoned due to these same tactics and people even trying to hijack control of the meeting platform itself. Before making my comments on the 13th, I had also just learned that the mayor of Hideout and certain council members had been personally and repeatedly harassed and threatened. It was to those jerks that my umbrage was directed. Certainly not towards any persons expressing legitimate concerns about the proposed development. I support public involvement. Just not public thuggery.
I call on Mayor Beerman and the members of the Park City Council and the Summit County Council to honestly acknowledge the context of my comments and to condemn the vile conduct of their supporters in attacking the elected officials of the Town of Hideout. If they do not do so then they must acknowledge their complicity in the horrible conduct leading to my remarks.
I wish, with 20/20 hindsight that I chosen other words. I do not regret my detest for the actions of the real villains here. Nor for the hypocrites.
Bruce R. Baird
Salt Lake City
All in this together
I want to give a big shout-out to Summit County Clubhouse and ask that everyone help support it through a contribution during Live PC Give PC, Nov. 6! The Clubhouse has only been open for a year, but as a founding member I can personally attest to the life-changing power of the program.
SCC is a place where adults like me with a mental illness diagnosis recover our lives by joining a community that emphasizes our talents and builds our self-confidence. In the process of working together with my fellow members to run the Clubhouse as a nonprofit business I have learned employment skills like office management, accounting and computer technology as well as teamwork and other important life skills.
I just read that cases of depression have tripled in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. To have good mental health is especially important during these trying times, but from my personal experience I know that social isolation can have a terrible impact. I have found that I don’t have to worry anymore because at the Clubhouse we are all in this together.
If you are an adult with a history of mental illness, we welcome you to join us at SCC. Membership is free! If you are planning to donate during Live PC Give PC, please consider Summit County Clubhouse. Your gift will go directly to supporting the mental wellness of many people in our community. Thank you for your help!
We need Miller
A few years ago, post a decade of vacationing extended to seasonal living, our family relocated to Park City.
We arrived after living across high-growth states like California and Texas as well as dense metros like Seattle and Atlanta. As as happened to so many other folks over the years, Park City’s welcoming energy, engaged community and endless skies delighted us. We felt — and feel — so very grateful to call Park City home.
Now as a “Parkite” living in Old Town — legislative House District 54 — the local impacts of this election feel most pressing.
We’re a community, economy and lifestyle linked differentially to climate-based tourism. And, we’re raising the next generation of Parkites in a wonderful school district where leadership and educators are fighting an uphill battle in a state with the single lowest per-pupil spending in the nation — dead last.
We need a representative who takes the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and climate change seriously and will support residents and businesses in the efforts to stay safe and stay open.
We need a representative who prioritizes our students and the teams who support and lead them at school.
We need a representative who will go after affordable health care, government transparency and be a new voice representing all District 54 residents and stakeholders at the state capitol.
We need a representative who will balance our inevitable growth with long-range planning and land conservancy as Summit County and Park City continue to attract new business and residents. We need a representative who will advocate for the residents and extended community making our town such a successful and enjoyable place to call home — our essential workers, educators and health care teams.
We need Meaghan Miller in District 54.
Please vote to protect our future. Vote to champion our kids’ education and our natural playgrounds, to stay safe and stay open and to address climate change and its impacts on our lifestyle and economy for years to come.
Vote Meaghan Miller.
Caplan is committed
I support Andrew Caplan’s candidacy for a second term representing District 2 on the Park City Board of Education.
I have known Andrew and his wife Courtney for over 15 years and have been impressed by their involvements and commitments to the Park City community. They have two young children attending school in the district.
Andrew served for seven years on the board of the Park City Education Foundation and was asked to run for the Park City school board four years ago. He quickly grasped the intricacies of working in the highly contentious environment of educational policy and politics. He came to understand that pleasing all parties and addressing every educational need is a thankless and impossible job. But his guiding light is his total commitment to public education as a bedrock of social equity.
Andrew’s extensive background in finance has served this community well. He was instrumental in hiring our new school superintendent who quickly assembled an outstanding professional staff. Serving as the current president of the school board, Andrew helped shepherd the complex master planning process these past several years. And when the pandemic crisis hit he worked with the community to find creative solutions to reopening the schools which is overwhelmingly supported by a solid majority of parents and teachers.
Andrew clearly understands the value and necessity of retaining and attracting the best teaching staff in Utah and he was instrumental in working with the local teachers union to secure the largest pay raise in the district’s and Utah’s history.
I know better than most the contentious nature of public decision-making. Nearly everyone supports providing an outstanding educational experience for our children but few are willing to engage in the gritty day-to-day work of achieving it. Andrew has clearly demonstrated he does with passion and a great work ethic. Please join me in supporting his candidacy and that of the other school board members who work well together while applauding their public service.
Myles C. Rademan
Reauthorize the RAP tax
I’m writing today to encourage our entire community to vote “Yes!” to reauthorize the Summit County RAP tax.
As the executive director of Park City Community Foundation, I know the RAP tax is a critical source of funding for local recreation, arts and park programs. It is a lifeline that supports film, baseball fields, trails and concerts. Additionally, recreation and arts entities are major employers and essential components of our tourism economy.
As a local, I’m personally grateful every day for what the RAP tax affords us. This summer, my family and I snuggled up in the back of our van to enjoy a drive-in film under the stars at the Olympic Park (thank you, Park City Film), and it was the sort of Friday night that makes a summer special. And every day I walk, run, hike, or bike our trails to clear my head and connect with nature. I know I’m not the only one who has found restoration on our trails during this tough time.
What does the RAP tax cost us? It is a proven investment that deploys 1/10th of 1 cent on a sales-and-use tax (that does not include food) to support Summit County programs and projects. Every 10 years we’re asked to reauthorize it, which we did in 2010 and I hope we do again.
Please join me in voting YES for Proposition 21! And … save the date for Live PC Give PC on Nov. 6!
Park City Community Foundation executive director
Cooke is results driven
I am writing to encourage the residents within Park City Board of Education District 2 to write in Thomas Cooke as their representative for the Park City school board on Nov. 3.
Over the past five years, I have worked with Thomas on three different boards or committees — all for the benefit of the children in our community. With each opportunity I have found Thomas to be extremely well educated about the issues at hand. He clearly has a penchant for research which leads to enlightened discussions, but Thomas is also respectful and carefully listens to what others bring to the table. Thomas is results driven and encourages collaboration in finding viable solutions; one of his strong suits is consensus building.
While my personal work with Thomas has been primarily in the youth sports arena, his passion for providing the best opportunities for all of the children in the Park City area has been abundantly clear since our first meeting years ago.
Please write in Thomas Cooke as the Park City Board of Education representative for District 2 when you cast your ballot.
Shelley L. Gillwald
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