Oct 192010
 
Authors:

Associated Students of Colorado State University’s senators voted last week on the proposed Fort Collins sales tax increase with 12 for, 7 against and 6 absent. The 6 absent votes were counted as “no” votes, bringing the results of the vote to 12 for and 13 against the proposal. 

This is appalling.

ASCSU is a student organization that is highly respected throughout the university, and as such its votes are meaningful and meant represent the views of the students.

To decide that all senators not present should be counted as “no” votes on issues is ridiculous. Regardless of what your views are on specific issues, we should agree that absent votes shouldn’t automatically be considered no votes.

In the Collegian Editorial Board’s Our View “Vote on Tax,” the board said it was split down the middle with five people believing the proposed increase was good for the city and five people being against the tax increase. It further stated that “opponents were upset that the city has dared to ask students for money after years of painting them as destructive, apathetic vagabonds.”

If this is the case, it’s because students choose to give the community that impression. Can you fault community members for sometimes viewing students as menacing when local headlines describe riots taking place, DUI arrests occurring and other such statistics regarding student behavior? The entire CSU student population needs to step up and give them reasons to believe we are a positive addition to our community.

I strongly disagree with the statement made by one of the editors on the board who argued that “we care more about Fort Collins than it cares about us.” Our community still shows great pride in CSU as a whole, choosing to overlook certain students’ efforts to tarnish the school’s reputation. 

In my experience, when speaking with community members about attending CSU, the response is always positive. The community does not view the university as a burdens but rather as something to take great pride in. If you live in Fort Collins, whether native or not, you are adopted into the “Ram family.”   

Everyone knows that the economy is nowhere near ideal and that cuts that impact our quality of life are being considered. But would you want to live in Fort Collins if the roads were falling apart? Would you want to walk through Fort Collins feeling unsafe because we could not afford proper policing of the town?

Would you want to know that in the case of a fire you may or may not be protected because the budget to our fire department was cut? Would you enjoy the surroundings downtown, or in our community parks and other such destinations, if they were no longer maintained to the standards we have grown accustomed to?  

That’s exactly what the tax increase is attempting to prevent. As students at CSU, we may be from different cities and states, but something ultimately attracted each and every one of us to Fort Collins. And for me it is the way of life. But without the dollars to keep it amazing I don’t know if I’d want to stay.

The current sales tax rate is 6.7 percent in Fort Collins. Increasing the tax by .85 percent would bring the tax rate to 7.55 percent.
As a CSU student I earn a minimal amount of money, working part time to support myself while I attend classes.

I don’t know about you, but as a student I rarely make $100 purchases. I am more likely to spend my money on a $6 lunch. And if changing the tax rate to keep Fort Collins the way I know and love means I have to spend a whole 5 cents more than before on sales tax, I say it’s absolutely worth it.

Please consider voting in favor of increasing the sales tax rate to ensure proper maintenance of our way of life. Please take the ASCSU vote as it truly should have been counted (12 yes, 7 no). But more importantly please show your support for the community and vote. That’s simply my “five cents” on the matter.  
 
Niki Wernimont is a senior interior design major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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