Texarkana College tax increase a no-brainer
Wars have been fought over them, and this country even fought for its independence over what our forefathers deemed as unfair taxation.
To the property owner anywhere, another tax on his land, his home, is just another burden on his back.
But, ask a young person who graduates from high school with two, or even three years of college credit how important Texarkana College is to them, and they would ask you to please, shoulder just a little bit more weight.
Ask one of our high school counselors how much harder their job would be if they did not have Texarkana College to offer as an option?
As it stands, Texarkana College’s tax rate is not even at the minimum they are allowed. This coming tax rate does not have to be, and will not be voted on by the general public, because the college has that leeway to levy this tax without a vote.
I know many who have trumpeted a revolt, a recall, or some other action. There have been calls to put something on the November ballot. Others have offered a myriad of suggestions as a form of protest.
But again, we need to look at all that Texarkana College brings to our area, and how we would suffer without its existence.
The folks at Texarkana College are only implementing this tax increase because the State of Texas has decreased its funding for community colleges so drastically. In fact, according to information given at the college’s public hearing on Monday, where once the state contributed to 66% of its annual revenue needs, that number is now down to 23%.
The funding to keep the doors open has to come from somewhere, and in lieu of state funding, that burden has to shift to the people that benefit the most from Texarkana College’s existence.
Some of that funding can come from an increase in tuition, but how much of a burden can we put on students who are just beginning their adult lives?
A friend of mine, Brett McClaran, offers his views on the subject in a Letter to the Editor on this page.
He says that Texarkana College saved he and his two kids around $50,000 because of their offering of dual credit courses in high school. Think about a family that might have three kids, or even four.
The benefit of having Texarkana College in Northeast Texas far outweighs the burden of a minimal tax increase. This half cent tax increase, which works out to just $5 on $100,000 of property value, will change the lives of our future leaders. It will go to a college that has a huge impact on our regional economy, which, by the way, had the absolute best graduation rate of any community college in the State of Texas last year. It is impossible to say that having TC in our area does not benefit us all.
This is a school, right here in our backyard, that offers two-year degrees that will then transfer to any university in the country. This is a school that also teaches trades like welding and the culinary arts. Texarkana College is a place where our future firefighters and EMT’s learn how to save lives.
What would we do without Texarkana College?
So then, you might say, they don’t need more revenue, why can’t they just use what they have?
Well, you might need to know what they will be using this new money to do?
It will go towards making the campus more accessible for everyone by meeting the ADA requirements.
Ask yourself again, what if I had someone in my family that was in a wheelchair and wanted to go to college, or just go and use some of the many other resources the college offers.
Would it be such a big deal then?
Nobody likes a tax increase, that goes without saying. But this is a good one.
I stand behind Texarkana College for no other reason except they are changing the lives of young people who will one day be the backbone of Northeast Texas. You should too.