PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Opinion

September 24, 2012

Editorial: Voice of the people needs to be heard in today’s election

PORT ARTHUR — Those favoring ratification of a tax increase in the Port Arthur Independent School District have laid out their reasons voters should vote in support of a 13 percent tax hike. Those opposed have stated their reasons why the tax increase, which has already been approved by a unanimous board of trustees, is a bad idea.

Education is a very important issue for our community and we would think a double-digit tax increase would get the attention of voters, whether they believe the investment is needed to give Port Arthur’s students access to the best possible educational programs or, on the other side, that the increase is too big a burden to add during a troubled economy and will cripple the growth of new jobs students will depend on after they get out of school.

Despite the importance of the issue, only about 5 percent of Port Arthur’s 28,000 registered voters cast ballots during the early voting period that ended Friday. Judging by that low turnout, a very small number of voters will have a very large impact on the direction PAISD takes in the next year.

People come up with all sorts of reasons not to go to the polls, but one of the most popular ones is “My vote doesn’t count anyway.” Votes do count, even if the election is one sided. Those who are elected to office and are making decisions about things like tax rates, or health care for that matter, listen to the voice of the people expressed through elections. But this PAISD election, judging from the active campaigning on both sides of the issue, is likely to be decided by a very small margin. So in the sense of being the decisive vote deciding the election one way or the other, in this election only a few votes would turn the tide either way.

In-depth information about the issues is available in an excellent article published in the Sunday edition of The Port Arthur News and which is available at panews.com. Take the time today to make a difference in this important election about our students and our community — vote.

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