Letter to the editor: Least bad option

To the editor:

In 1994, local officials and community organizations developed, and voters passed, a one-cent sales tax. It financed the construction of a new jail, the VNA/Bert Nash/Health Center, the aquatic center, the East Lawrence Recreation Center expansion and provided some property tax relief. It was a sound investment of tax dollars. In 2018, a one-half cent sales tax proposition developed by local officials with community health organizations provides a similar investment opportunity.

The strong support by local organizations for the Proposition 1 measure stands in stark contrast with the opposition funded by national organizations on the left, like the DART Center (Google it), and on the right, like Americans for Prosperity (read Koch Brothers). The left plays a gospel message through churches and decries “mass incarceration.” The right just says “no new taxes.” But there is no mass incarceration in Douglas County. The actual rate here is very low.

The middle ground sees a growing need for mental health facilities and services which will receive 60 percent of the half-cent proceeds. And recognizes that a better jail is necessary for safe, humane incarceration. A half-cent sales tax is the least bad option available to pay for them.

The reasons proffered to vote no do not hold up when fairly scrutinized. We need expanded mental health services and a better jail. I’m voting yes to keep Douglas County the healthiest, most livable community in this region.