Our Opinion: Failure of tax renewal will cost county

Published 8:40 pm Monday, June 4, 2007

By Staff
If you live in the county and own a $50,000 home, a pair of decades-old school taxes are costing you just $1.67 per month.
That's it. These days that's much less than a gallon of gas.But what that money represents to a single family is nothing compared to what it collectively means for the Escambia County and Brewton City school districts.
Two 80-year-old taxes are back up for a vote Tuesday: a 3-mill district tax to benefit county schools and a 1-mill countywide tax to benefit city and county schools.
The same taxes failed in a vote last fall, while a 3-mill district tax for city schools was approved overwhelmingly by Brewton city voters. The 3-mill district tax alone is 9 percent of the local revenue that county schools receive.
Critics have asked why school officials would put the taxes back on the ballot if the county already spoke its mind.
Here's why: Fewer than 1,800 people voted in the last election. We don't think that represents all of Escambia County; in fact, it's a fraction of the more than 6,500 residents who voted in 2003 to raise taxes for schools.
We think most Escambia County residents care about education and care not only about the students but also about their community's future. These same Escambia County residents passed a 10-mill tax increase less than four years ago.
Vote yes Tuesday. The taxes aren't anything new. We've been paying them for 80-plus years. But rest assured, if those taxes do not pass on Tuesday, we will be paying for it - in terms of lost opportunities - for decades to come.
Yes vote on both amendments essential for state's future
A pair of amendments on Tuesday's ballot can help Alabama take giant steps forward in economic development.
The first will allow the state to increase its bond limit for economic development, a measure that can help the state land more projects like the massive steel mill coming to south Alabama. The second will help protect the state's bond raiting.
Both are essential to the future of the state. Vote yes.