Here are 11 key reasons to vote NO to a new taxing district in Bonneville County on May 16, 2017, in no particular order-
1. If this was such a good idea why doesn't it financially support itself? In other words, why do we have to subsidize this project by almost $1,000,000.00 each year just from local property taxes? Why not charge roughly $7 more per credit hour and have the new tax so low, say 10 cents per $100K in taxable value?
2. We have many post-secondary educational opportunities locally, right now! Dozens and dozens of Associate Degrees are available within 50 miles of Idaho Falls.
3. The future of education is in on-line learning. This ballot measure is not "forward-looking." The future is not in expanding a brick and mortar educational system.
4. Even if we have our own Community College in Idaho Falls, whenever a Bonneville County student attends CSI or any other state community college, Bonneville County still pays that institution a tuition subsidy. That does not go away. People attend CSI and other schools for specific things. For example, CSI has a top baseball program. Since students already can get an Associate’s Degree locally, having a Community College here won't reduce what the County currently pays by much in out of county tuition subsidies.
5. EITC can still expand many course offerings while remaining a technical college.
6. EITC is land-locked by some of the most expensive real estate in the region. The dream of EITC becoming a 4 year school, or even a CSI which is on dozens of acres, is absurd. It is in a bad location surrounded by expensive real estate that would cost too much to expand. Growing into a second campus location could cost millions more and would probably require more tax raising bonds.
7. The costs to all of us seem very understated. The opening request is about $14.00 per year per $100,000 of taxable value in the county. If you own an apartment building, commercial building, or other rentals, you could be paying hundreds of dollars each year in new taxes. And unlike a school bond which has an ending date, this new taxing district can go on forever! When EITC wants to add more programs or buildings in the future, what we pay may go way up!
8. Why does this idea need our extra tax dollars? Even with Governor Otter throwing in $5 million of our tax money, the buildings already being in place, and staff and directors already on the payroll, they still need more money. It seems like it is a money pit from the start and may only get costlier for us. All the while we really don't need another school with so many in the area already! Some proponents of the new taxing district say that the cost per credit hour will be cheaper than other local offerings which may help explain why they need your new property taxes- they aren't charging students enough to make their plan financially work! But they may know if they charged the true cost of providing classes their prices might be higher than other local offerings so they need your new tax dollars to subsidize the costs to make their educational product cheaper in the market place.
9. The "usage" numbers seem incredibly skewed up. The proponents suggest that up to 4000 students would enroll, which just doesn't add up, considering...drum roll...we already have a similar offering right here in Idaho Falls and very few use it! The College of Southern Idaho has a campus just off Lincoln Road right in Idaho Falls. Yet very few are flocking to enroll. Why does this Idaho Falls campus draw dozens while we are to believe another Idaho Falls campus called EITC will draw thousands? Many feel the number of interested students is a phony number.
10. Some are saying the residents of Bonneville County will see a 6 fold return on what they pay in new taxes. How does a widow on a fixed income who pays a new starter tax of $14 per year receive cash back of $84? How does this return get into her personal budget? How does any taxpayer receive a 6 fold cash return into their yearly budget? We believe the benefits just are not going to be there for most taxpayers.
11. Voters need to remember that the residents of Bonneville County already yelled a resounding “NO” to this idea once. We already have enough opportunity nearby, and many more now on-line, we don't need more schools or another new taxing district!