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Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 12:53 pm

Chamber supports county sales tax for education

The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce board of directors approved a resolution at their Aug. 30 meeting to support a countywide investment in educational facilities. This support is in line with the vision of the Chamber of Commerce to be the leading advocate for economic development and a leading partner for education. 

Economic development is a primary reason to invest in school facilities through a 1 percent sales tax that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. A comprehensive school construction program will provide construction jobs and will have a ripple effect throughout the county. From a longer term perspective, the investment in our children and the stabilization of our urban core will improve the quality of life in our community. The Chamber plans to be actively engaged in monitoring the appropriate spending in school facilities to ensure the greatest economic impact for the citizens of Sangamon County. 

For those districts whose facilities have been recently upgraded, The Chamber believes plans for property tax relief through the retirement of bonds will enhance both the affordability and the quality of life in Sangamon County. 

The Chamber’s endorsement of the 1 percent sales tax for school facilities is about investing in our schools so our children are able to compete in a global economy. Although the Chamber supports the sales tax for the benefit of all Sangamon County public schools, we have a particular interest in the impact on Springfield public schools. The fact of the matter is that District 186 facilities are outdated and need to be addressed. 

As part of our support, The Chamber will continue to be actively engaged in efforts to identify and implement focused strategies to increase student achievement. The end goal is increasing the student performance and academic achievement for all students in the county. We intend to stress the importance of accountability on this matter to the leaders of our public school system. 

The Chamber views this important policy matter to be consistent with the stand we’ve taken through our involvement in the Business/Education Partnership and Continuum of Learning. The future of our entire community depends on a bright future for public education. For any questions, feel free to contact Gary Plummer, President and CEO at gplummer@gscc.org. 

Valera Yazell is chair of the board for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. A business owner since 1987, she owns a small business consulting firm called Making Waves.
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