This is going to be the most unpopular letter to the editor I have ever submitted, but I believe it is time someone addressed the issues. I realize no one likes to pay taxes and it is obvious that none of our legislators want to address the need for new taxes. However, our school systems are a joke and rate between the 48th and 50th worst in the nation based on K-12 achievement. Our state roads currently are rated at the 40th worst in the nation; an example is the massive traffic jams on Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The last time we raised the gasoline tax to pay for roads was over 20 years ago with no index for inflation. The same is true for the federal gasoline taxes. How do people caught in rush-hour traffic feel about paying themselves about 20 cents an hour for the time wasted? Think of the money we have saved when we have a massive traffic jam going west across the Mississippi bridge because we cannot afford to build another bridge and a bypass route.
How about the school system? There have been many studies showing the best approach to improving the schools is to keep the ratio of students to teachers in kindergarten through the third grade to 14 to 1 or less. This costs money. Has the EBR School Board asked for better funding? It seems to cost about $15,000 per year to educate a student in private school but the public schools want to get by on about $8,000 per student. Let’s pay the teachers adequately and give them time to work with their students.
It costs money to have police on the streets. The drug trade seems to have enough money but we can’t afford to have enough police on the street to counter it.
Ask the candidates how he or she is going to improve the schools or roads, or cut crime, without new taxes. Ask him to be honest. And don’t worry about our governor. He will veto any tax increase as he is running for national office but his veto can be overridden.