Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Community College HECK YES!

Okay, so I have blogged on this before, but given the proximity to the vote on community colleges I thought doing so again might be useful. Seeing as how I have already outlined all the reasons why you should support the community college, I'd like to explore why not.

Some obstructionist points-of-view:

1) The "We Already Have A Community College" Camp
2) The "Don't Raise My Property Taxes" Camp
3) The "Change Is Bad, Mmmkay" Camp

I'll address them in order.

The first obstructionists feel as though the satellite branch of Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) in Caldwell is already satisfactorily fulfilling the demand for a community college. While it is true that TVCC is doing well to offer some entry level curriculum, it is not in a position to offer capital intensive programs (i.e. nursing, mechanists programs, etc.). These are programs in very high demand. Consider this one point: If TVCC were prepared to offer capital intensive programs in Caldwell, then why did MotivePower (a major employer located in District 18) have to open it's second plant in Ontario for training purposes? TVCC didn't seem inclined to offer the welding and other industrial arts programs at that time (a couple of years ago) and the same is likely true. This is because the financial support for TVCC Caldwell comes from solely from tuition. Capital intensive programs are expensive, thus making them cost prohibitive to offer with only tuition financial support. Ultimately, both TVCC and the so-called College of Western Idaho can coexist. This isn't really a reason to vote no.

The second obstructionist position is the Jim Auld type (no slander intended or implied). These are the folks that see any increase in any tax as undesirable, no matter how worthy the cause. To most of them tax is evil and should be avoided, always. Unfortunately, that is not the way this government is intended to work. Taxes are the way of sharing the burden and giving what we can afford to give for the collective betterment. That doesn't mean we tax ourselves into poverty that is counterintuitive. A new community college would be an economic stimulus to the Treasure Valley and it would pay for itself many times over, just like its counterparts NIC and CSI have done. The property tax cost for the community college would be something like $11.50 per $100,000 of taxable property. That is a blue light special on aisle You.

Finally, you could take the curmudgeon approach. The reality is that there are people in this world that see any change as a bad thing. I am willing to guess that they don’t know what a blog is, so I don’t have to worry about too much backlash from them reading this post. Their position is pretty simple, which why it doesn’t hold water. The idea that we should freeze time (like freezing your credit report after you’ve discovered you were the victim of identity theft, see my legislation next session allowing you to do so) and leave things like they were is neither feasible or desirable. Change can be a good thing, leading to innovation and improvement in the way things are done. A new community college would be a positive development. The simplicity of the argument, as I mention, leads to its downfall. The world is a complex place (on a side note it could probably stand get a bit more simplified) and solutions to compete with the complexity mustn’t be ignored. In some cases, complex solutions can lead to simplified results. That’s what I think the community college does, by making it easier for people to get trained and find work, which makes it easier for them to provide for their families. Everybody wins!

The debate will continue and I hope to hear your feedback if you have any. In case you were wondering, I fully support the development of a community college and will be voting YES on May 22nd. If you still have doubts, let me know what they are, I’d love to speak with you about them. If you are planning on voting yes, I’d like to know that too!