Education bond benefits outweigh pain of tax hike

We seldom recommend voting for a tax initiative. We prefer our government servants to achieve goals by cutting waste and looking to private enterprise, which often is more efficient and effective.

That said, a proposal on Tuesday’s New Mexico ballot is worth supporting. It is Bond B, the semiannual General Obligation Bond for Education, which would benefit Eastern New Mexico University, Clovis Community College and Mesalands Community College, plus other colleges and universities across the state.

Educated New Mexicans are vital to our communities’ growth and success. If this year’s GO bond passes, the taxes the owner of a $100,000 home will pay are about $10 more a year. In return, $118,360,000 would be allocated for more than three dozen capital improvement projects across New Mexico, including higher-education facilities in our region. Those are:

• Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, $4.5 million to renovate its Music Building.

• Clovis Community College, $3 million to build an allied health center.

• Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, $1.5 million for an academic building.

Steven Gamble and John Neibling, presidents of ENMU and CCC, respectively, have correctly pointed out that everyone benefits from enhanced health care, aesthetic enjoyment of upgraded music facilities and a boost to local economies.

“Keeping higher education institutions in Curry and Roosevelt counties competitive encourages more graduating seniors from the area to stay in eastern New Mexico to attend college — often staying to pursue careers and further contribute to the vitality of the area,” they wrote in a guest column published Oct. 8.

Our three communities would receive about 7.5 percent of the total improvements proposed — not a bad return considering that our population is less than 4 percent of New Mexico’s total.

Public education does not always work, as we point out routinely, and as professionals in that field also know. But we also know the cost of high-dollar items such as buildings seldom are donated by private citizens or private businesses.

We believe these regional projects are worth doing and will benefit our communities. Since the government offers the only viable option for these needed projects, we encourage people to vote in favor of Bond B.