From the Publisher / Arnold G. York

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The Malibu Times endorses Measure A

I strongly urge a yes vote on Measure A, the $198 per year parcel tax for education, currently being conducted via mail ballot.

It’s not easy to recommend a yes vote on a $198 per year parcel tax that runs for five years and then sunsets, particularly in a recession year. The problem is that I see no alternative other than to cut teachers and class subjects.

We’re just beginning to come out of a very deep recession, the deepest that most of us can remember. State revenues are way down and consequently the state, which pays 70 percent of education costs, has cut $10 million a year out of our local school budget for two years straight. That means the school district got $20 million less than they expected, so the last two years has been a story of nothing but cuts in our school district to try and cover the shortfall and we’re still predicting a large deficit. They started out by cutting the extras, then maintenance on the facilities and then many of the programs that didn’t involve teaching. They’ve already cut all the fat and gristle, and now they’re down to the muscle and the bone. Unfortunately, it’s going to be another year before this improves, even though the economy is slowly beginning to get better. Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times had a story that reported tax revenues for the state in April were $3 billion less than was anticipated (or hoped for anyway), and you know the bulk of that is going to end up in additional school cuts. It’s not that the state is anti-education. Larger deficits mean larger cuts in one or both of the state’s two major programs-health and education. There is just no other alternative.

So it’s in times like this that the citizens have to step up when the government revenues are just not there. It’s not anyone’s fault. I’ve lived long enough to know that our economy has cycles, but this one has been deeper and longer than most. I can also understand why taxpayers are angry and upset. I’m a taxpayer, and I’m angry and upset, but tough times often require tough decisions. The kids in school are not responsible for this recession and we shouldn’t punish them for it. In time, they’ll get educated, grow up and make their own mistakes, but now we’re the grownups, the adults, and we have to make the best of a bad situation, which is why I would strongly recommend a Yes vote on Measure A.

P.S. Remember you have to get your ballot into the mail so it’s received no later than 8 p.m. on May 25. If you’re late getting it into the mail, there are several locations where you can drop the ballot off, including the Malibu Library or Fire Station No 99 on PCH.