5-17-17 UPDATE- We would like to congratulate our opponents on a very well-funded and well planned campaign. They were able to pass this taxing district on their first try. There was much community interest and over 14,000 people voted.
We would like to thank our 4000 plus voters and supporters. A close look at the numbers show that if just 341 “yes” voters had voted “no” we would have stopped this taxing district. Just 341 votes were needed to be switched for a victory!!
A brief recap: For about three years paid staff at EITC, including President Aman, as well as others, garnered support for their position. Groups like the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, BYUI, Realtor groups, and others, were solicited with what we think were one-sided presentations and speeches. Money was raised, a ton of money, and a very deceitful petition and ballot question was produced that omitted the main purpose, which was to create a taxing district.
The media went all in with many one sided stories and several outlets refused to even quote the opposition. We were almost 3 years late in our start. We, like most voters, did not realize until late that there was a much more to this ballot question than what the petition words had said. The ballot and petition made things appear that EITC simply wanted a name change and a mission change, not a tax district or new property taxes.
We believe without any opposition the proponents would have gotten 95% or more of the vote. We had a short and underfunded campaign to educate the community that the vote was to create a taxing district and the wording on the ballot was flawed. We came just 341 votes from defeating the flawed ballot question. The proponents spent about $100,000.00 and we spent a tiny fraction of that amount. We also didn’t have some of the paid staff of EITC promoting our position for many months either. That is our re-cap and now it is time to go forward because the book is far from being closed.
The next chapter of the community college conversion is a crucial one for the taxpayers of Bonneville County. Many promises have been made to us. We believe some of the promises will be impossible to keep. These promises were made by their proponents in their panel report, in the debates, on the radio, or other places. They include:
1. Starting the new property tax rate at $13.37 per year for the average homeowner.
2. Not raising that tax amount for 6 years (panel report, page 26).
3. Obtaining ownership of all the EITC buildings from the state for no charge.
4. Opening Fall of 2017 with accreditation as a community college.
5. Growing to 4000 students in 6 years.
6. Eliminating the wait list for nursing, mechanics, and training for other professions.
7. Bringing $66 million in economic benefit and creating 900 new jobs (we are not sure how that will be proven or even measured).
8. Did we mention, keeping the new property tax rate at $13.37 per year for the average homeowner?
Voters remember that an auditorium district was passed a few years ago with tons of promises. What mostly what was promised in that campaign hasn't even come close to occurring yet.
Now with the college, the community will have to wait and see if these 7 promises as well as other promises can be fulfilled. Some of the proponents' promises were built on huge assumptions- such as the state funding will be constant and the buildings will simply be given to the college. Those assumptions seemed rarely, if ever, questioned.
The challenge for the newly appointed board will be to keep the new tax rate promise of $13.37 for the average homeowner if the state changes funding, the buildings cost, or there are unforeseen expenses. We cried from the rooftops that $13.37 will probably not be the new tax cost. And proponents swore up and down that rate is locked in and we will not pay more than that rate for 6 years. Time will tell.
The community will be watching, especially to what happens over the next few months. Will they keep their main promises of $13.37 and open on time this fall?
VOTE NO ON MAY 16TH TO THE NEW COLLEGE TAXING DISTRICT!
On May 16th Bonneville County voters will be asked to start a new Taxing District to fund EITC becoming a Community College.
THE VOTE IS NOT ABOUT THE VALUE OF A HIGHER EDUCATION. THE VOTE IS WHETHER TO START A TAXING DISTRICT WHERE YOUR FUTURE TAX RATE WILL BE DETERMINED ONLY AFTER THE BALLOT PASSES, AND WILL BE SET BY AN APPOINTED BOARD THE FIRST YEAR. YOU HEARD RIGHT. BUY NOW, FIND OUT THE PRICE OF YOUR PROPERTY TAX INCREASE LATER!
Would you buy a car without seeing the price first? A home? Then why a Community College? Fact is that no one will know how much their property taxes will go up until AFTER the election on May 16th. The ballot question has no dollar amounts (like a school bond) has which means an five person appointed board will set your first year property tax rate, but only after the ballot measure passes.
We don’t feel voters have been told the truth on other issues. No local college is required for dual credits. Our "go on" rates are fine because the number the other side uses fail to include return LDS missionaries who attend college 2 years after graduation. EITC’s own website promotes workforce training opportunities. And we already have a huge amount of local opportunities already. The claim of economic activity is a farce. If shuffling around tax money from one taxpayer to another really is economic growth let’s build 10 colleges. Other areas do not have stronger income s than us because of a community college (see the Twin Falls to Idaho Falls study on the left). And why aren’t we being told that most community colleges are seeing huge drops in enrollments. But as big as those reasons are to vote NO, they seem to become minor issues when we realize this is an open tax ballot question.
The most important issue is this: The Ballot has no financial information. You are agreeing to pay a new tax for a community college when a board, which will be appointed in the future, will set your first year tax. And it could be hundreds of dollars in new taxes depending upon how much taxable value you own.
How do we know what our first year taxes will be? We simply don't. One outside group predicted it might possibly cost $851,000 a year to run EITC as a Community College which equates to a hope of $13 per year for the average homeowner, but that is strictly one groups non-binding estimate- a wish. There are 8 types of taxing funds the new appointed board can set first year levy rates in. All three current Idaho community colleges tax in the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) fund and also in an Insurance fund. One taxes for a gym.
The O&M fund by itself can be as high as $125.00 per year per $100K in taxable value you own. Suppose the appointed board feels a new campus gym is needed to attract students. They can start taxes for that the first year without any vote or further authorization from voters. CSI in Twin Falls has their tax at $98 per year per 100K in taxable value, and NIC in Kootenai County has their property tax set at $112. CSI was started in 1963 and has all their buildings paid for as far as their annual budget shows. NIC was started in 1933 and has all but one of their buildings paid for. EITC also has their buildings paid for. CSI and NIC aren't charging high rates to pay for buildings. It simply costs that much in local property taxes to run a community college.
A big question every voter should ask: If it only costs $13 per year for the average property owner in yearly taxes, why didn't they put that limiting language on the ballot question? We speculate they know your first year taxes probably won't even be close to $13 for the average owner or perhaps they knew that voters might never support something like this if the true costs were told up front. Who knows? In fact, we may never know the real reason why they left the price tag off.
Forget all the other so called benefits, arguments, reasons, stories, pleas, newspaper articles, fliers, testimonials, or whatever else is thrown at you. May 16th boils down to one simple question: Would you pass any tax increase without knowing what the price tag is? Almost everyone we talked to says NO!
See the tabs on the left for some great information and remember to vote No May 16th!
The Bonneville County Republican Party is opposing this ballot question as well!
Click below for their facebook page and their view on this tax.
See the morning news program that actually gave equal time to our side! Click the link below to go to East Idaho News and watch.
A video is worth many words! Click below to see our videos and check back as we have new ones that will be posted soon. Be sure to share them.