The anti-government fanatics would have us believe that taxes are an abomination and the public should always oppose spending increases. Given our troubled economy and this incessant libertarian/Republican refrain, you might expect that voters would reject any initiatives that could raise their taxes.
But you would be wrong.
By a two-thirds majority, voters yesterday in Scottsdale, Ariz., (where I live) supported a budget override that allows the school district to increase its operating budget up to 10 percent a year to protect 179 teaching positions and support elementary school music programs, gifted services and after-school programs. The funds -- nearly $70 million over seven years -- would also help pay for library and other instructional materials, playground improvements, classroom technology, even fine arts materials.
That's good for the kids and the schools, good for the community, good for jobs, good for business and economic development. It demonstrates that people are willing to pay for initiatives that improve or, in the face of brutal budget cuts, sustain the quality of life.
And this didn't just happen in the relatively affluent Scottsdale. Throughout the Phoenix area yesterday, voters passed more than 20 of these budget overrides and bond proposals to spend more money -- saving jobs, retaining or rehiring teachers, and helping keep class sizes down.
That's money well-spent. And that's not just my opinion. The voters have spoken -- and they agree.