In regard to Mr. Bill Hanlon's recent column (Tuesday, March 9), I would like to rebut some of his uninformed, misleading and erroneous remarks. Although he was addressing the remarks of David Howard of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce has publicly opposed the Nevada State Education Association's proposed tax initiative for some months and is part of the statewide alliance to defeat the tax.
Mr. Hanlon insinuates that groups that have opposed the initiative without first reading it lack open minds. We don't have to read the details of the initiative to know what it is. It is a tax! It is another tax on business by a special interest group for increased salaries. And we've been down this road with the teachers' union before. In 1988, they proposed a similar tax on business, and that effort resulted in the current "head tax" that business pays for employing people.
Next, Mr. Hanlon appears to question business' support of education. The business community most certainly supports education because it's the business community that depends upon a quality educational system to provide the educated work force for their needs. The business community contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and money every year to local classrooms and to support school needs, events and activities.
It's the local business community that has funded the Safe Grad Night in Carson City. It's the local business community that supports local athletic and sports programs, drama groups, etc. By suggesting that businesses want the tax burden on everyone else, Mr. Hanlon seems to be unaware that business already pays a substantial amount of local, state and federal taxes, not to mention all the various fees that are levied by a multitude of governmental agencies, just for the privilege of being in business.
He also resorts to the most obvious of emotional arguments when he paints the mental picture of small children suffering through the actions of the big, bad business lobbyist who browbeats elected officials into denying services to the young and the old. Mr. Hanlon seems to forget that lobbyists also represent the teachers union and that lobbyists for the Nevada State Education Association are among the most powerful (and expensive) in the state.
When he expresses his concern over who will represent the common person in this argument against higher taxes, I would like to point out that business owners, as well as teachers, are part of the common folk.
They work, raise families, pay taxes, and struggle to make the best of their lives for their families and themselves. They are concerned over rising taxes, higher costs, increased inflation. They want their children educated and able to assume a productive role in society. And these common folk are intelligent enough to know that throwing more money at the problem isn't the solution.
If Mr. Hanlon and his union cronies are so concerned with the needs of education, then let them join with the business community and organizations in supporting school choice, vouchers and testing standards for teachers. Maybe then we would all see something constructive for education.