Local parcel tax picks up where the state leaves off | SierraSun.com

Local parcel tax picks up where the state leaves off

Jim Porter
Law Review

Many years ago I had an opportunity to go with my grandfather to hear President John F. Kennedy deliver an education speech at UC Berkeley.

My grandfather was a friend of Kennedy’s and a longtime elected board member of the State Board of Equalization. His District included most of northern California. So we had good seats. We also had a VIP parking pass and drove past the crowds ” right up to the coliseum and parked. As a youngster, I was most impressed.

My grandfather, who was also a newspaper editor, wrote about JFK’s speech. The Kennedy quote I remember best is: “Knowledge is the passkey to the future.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Providing a solid education for our youth is the foundation to knowledge. You can quote me on that.

Our Truckee-North Tahoe community has another opportunity to continue a 16-year education tradition. On March 8 we can vote for Measure A, a low-cost, flat parcel tax that funds our schools from kindergarten through high school.

Measure A funds critical programs that every school should have. We are not talking luxury here, we’re talking basics.

The cost is $98 per parcel per year over a seven-year term ” a mere $8 a month. My wife spends more than that on cappuccinos.

California was recently ranked third worst in the nation in adequacy of resources for education. The state faces a financial crisis and funding for California public schools has declined. Programs that were once a standard part of the educational experience have been eliminated. That’s where Measure A comes in.

Measure A funds are needed for basic instructional supplies, smaller class sizes, increased course offerings, including advanced placement classes, which are sorely missing, and even basics like acquisition of library books.

Remember only property owners have to pay this tax. And there is a senior exemption for property owners 65 years old and older.

Begrudge your federal tax dollars going to Washington, D.C., for Congressional perks and pork, $200 gold-plated hammers and expensive military hardware, but let’s support education in our local community. For the money, it’s a solid investment.

A two-thirds vote is required so your vote and commitment to the community can make a difference.

Yes on Measure A on March 8.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter – Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at http://www.portersimon.com.