Printed letters, Sept. 6, 2011

At first glance, Kelly Johnson’s Aug. 31 letter to the editor about the upcoming ballot question to override the District 51 mill levy and increase financial support of the school district seems fairly reasonable. But on reflection, some facts not in this letter deserve the attention of voters.

The national average per-pupil funding is currently close to $10,000 per student, per year. Colorado is expected to fund at about $7,000 per pupil next year. (Colorado places in the bottom 10 states consistently on spending per pupil.) District 51 projects funding for 2011-2012 to be about $6,100 per pupil, placing it in the bottom ranks for Colorado districts. These numbers illustrate that this district has not been lavishing funds on its students and the suggestions Johnson made will in no way address the shortfalls.

The above statistics came out of an excellent document written by Jeff Kirtland in his capacity of director of communications for the district. That same document goes on to itemize the cuts already made, including days of work reductions (which are actually pay cuts), declined pay increases, 83 teachers and 70 administrative positions being cut over the past two years, and concessions from the teachers union regarding eliminating pay increases, experience increases and post-graduate-education increases.

As the election gets closer a lot of information will be brought forth but in the meantime, I hope voters will keep an open mind on this issue and look at the facts. District 51 needs this funding.


Grand Junction

Green energy proving to be unsustainable

The Daily Sentinel is to be congratulated for providing some real news that may be omitted by the mainstream media. I refer to the Sept. 1 article describing the failure of a California solar-panel manufacturer that was touted by the Obama administration to become the “poster child for government investment in green technology.”

Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif., is filing for bankruptcy and laying off 1,000 workers after receiving a half billion-dollar federal stimulus loan.

Back in May 2010, President Obama made a highly publicized photo op, motorcade visit to the company, during which he told employees that the “incredible, cutting-edge solar panels being manufactured there were testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world and most importantly, the best workers in the world.”

The “bests” — ingenuity and dynamism, universities, technology and workers — to which Obama refers are true, but not because of government- sponsored failed programs. We are “best” because of a private enterprise system that creates positive results by allowing for creativity through individual investment, productive effort and intelligent risk management.

Will more green technology stimulus investments be part of his much publicized job plan that now has become a priority following his vacation?



The myth regarding overtaxed corporations

There is an often-repeated myth about excessive corporate taxation in the United States. The truth is that 25 of the top 100 U.S. corporations pay their CEOs more annually than they pay in U.S. federal taxes.

Included in this list of corporations are Ford, GE, Verizon and Prudential.  Some corporations also spend more on lobbying and political contributions yearly than they pay in federal taxes. Some pay zero taxes and others actually receive huge federal tax refunds.

This is in an economic environment where, as a percent of GDP, corporate profits are at unprecedented levels and worker compensation is at a 55-year low.

Despite assertions by many, low corporate tax rates during the last decade did not translate into more domestic jobs. When the disparity between the rich and the poor is huge, it is difficult to hear political candidates voice strenuous opposition to social safety net programs for America’s poor and middle class.


Grand Junction


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