Various lawn signs around town proclaim, “I’m For 1,” “Vote No On 1,” “Vote Yes On 1,” etc, in a variety of colors and designs. One of my kids asked the other day what the signs were all about. I explained that they are actually about two separate issues. I briefly explained the two issues, but my son still seemed confused.
Not only are kids confused about this; it seems that many voters are confused as well. Part of this is because both issues are called something-or-other 1.
Referendum No. 1 is the statewide school voucher referendum that has been making big headlines and getting into everybody’s faces.
If you live in Davis, Weber, or the southern end of Box Elder County, you will also see Opinion Question 1 on your ballot. This would authorize a .25% sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. Most of the money raised would go to fund light rail and commuter rail, while the remainder would go to “a myriad of road projects in Weber and Davis counties,” according to Stephen G. Handy of the Northern Utah Transportation Alliance (see SE article).
Some cities are not excited about yet another sales tax increase to fund UTA projects (see D-News article). Voters already approved a similar increase for the same projects just a few years ago. However, most cities along the Wasatch Front have endorsed increasing your taxes. Does anyone find it surprising that most government entities favor increasing your taxes?
So, here’s the scoop:
Vote yes on Referendum No. 1 if you want parents to have more choice in their kids’ education. Vote no on it if you want government to retain a stranglehold monopoly on education. I mean, government schools do such a fine job that test scores have been steadily declining over the past four decades even as per-student expenditures in real dollars have more than doubled.
Vote yes on Opinion Question 1 if you think you and your neighbors don’t pay enough taxes; if you’re not satisfied with only giving more of your money to government, but also think your neighbors (even the poorest among us) should cough up more of their hard-earned dollars to government. Vote no on Opinion Question 1 if you think sales taxes are regressive and you think government already gets more than enough of your cash as it is.
Referendum No. 1 would reduce government power over individuals, while Opinion Question 1 would increase government power. So, while the names of the two issues offer confusion, they’re really quite simple.