I am a strong supporter of the campaign to pass a local option sales tax increase of 1 percent that would go toward school facility improvements and school construction and urge folks to vote "yes" on Tuesday, April 7.
First, we have watched schools in Scott County and every county in Iowa improve significantly thanks to the local option sales tax for schools that passed more than a decade ago. What we've seen is an influx of new parents and new homes that are attracted to newer school facilities. We can do the same in Rock Island County.
Second, not a penny of the approximately $13 million a year generated by this 1-percent increase would be spent on anyone's salaries. By law, every penny would be devoted to school facility and school construction projects determined by local school districts. And by law many important items are excluded from this new sales tax, including groceries, cards, drugs, medical supplies, farm equipment and parts, and boats and recreational vehicles.
Third, every school district in Rock Island County would receive funds from this new revenue source. Every school district voted to put this referendum on the April 7 ballot because they are closest to the challenges and opportunities at the local level.
Fourth, the public school system is the foundation of any successful community. The national and international economic crisis shows us that our kids will face tougher challenges than previous generations.
Fifth, if Kids First passes, we might be able to see property taxes frozen or even dropping as local school boards receive new dollars from the1-percent sales tax.
I've been a Rock Island County resident all my life. And I've been in the political arena a long time. I'm not a supporter of higher taxes unless the cause is right.
Opponents of this measure haven't given us a good reason to be against this issue. This cause -- our kids, our public schools -- is just and right and that's why a "yes" vote is the right vote on April 7.
Former State Senator and East Moline Mayor