Huckleberries Online

DFO: NIC Trustees Work Magic

In a candidate profile in the Coeur d'Alene Press Thursday, North Idaho College challenger Paul Matthews was quoted as saying: "In her last term alone, she led the Board in more than doubling the tax levy rate!  By contrast, I know that every tax rise is a pay cut for some struggling family." The comment is consistent with Matthews' campaign literature that correctly states that his opponent, Judy Meyer (candidate profile here), and the NIC Board of Trustees have raised the tax rate 107% in five years from 2007-12. But, intentionally or not, Matthews is telling only half or a quarter of the truth. What he isn't saying is that property valuations have tumbled in those same five years. Toss in the homeowners exemption, and most property owners are paying slightly more today for NIC property taxes than they did five years ago. I'm paying $15 more today than in 2007. For that $15, or an average increase of $3 per year (25 cents per month), I'm getting elected college leaders who have had the foresight to buy the old DeArmond Mill (a move opposed adamantly to the point of lawsuit by some local Republicans) while balancing the needs of a burgeoning student enrollment with hard economic times. In the same five years, student enrollment has jumped from 4448 to 6483. Many of the students are desperate for retraining in order to find work in the ongoing Great Recesson. What else does my extra $15 per month help buy? It supports an institution that has a $164M impact on the local economy and growing, according to a recent survey. If local Republicans weren't blinded by their Hard Right ideology, they would applaud the nonpartisan trustees who have worked financial magic in face of a growing enrollment and challenging times, rather than circulate quarter-truths -- DFO.

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D.F. Oliveria
Dave Oliveria writes the Huckleberries Online Blog for North Idaho readers and the Huckleberries print column.

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