You know that Pink Floyd lyric "We don't need no education"? Well, not all of us can be rock stars, and in the state of Arizona students like myself need education more than ever.
What will happen if Proposition 100 does not pass? Teachers could be laid off, school sports and other activities will be cut, schools will be shut down and state university and college funding per student will decrease up to 25 percent. Teacher training, GED and gifted education programs will shrink, and so will kindergarten funding.
Opponents of Prop. 100 say that any money going to the education system would be wasted by inefficient and ineffective school administration, like the Tucson Unified School District.
This is a valid point. However, the solution to this is not to punish the students who desperately need their education. Passing the 1-cent-per-dollar sales tax isn't rewarding TUSD for its excellent management- it is ensuring that schools will be kept open and that students will be able to get the education they need to succeed in life.
Some opponents on the left believe that we should vote "no" on the sales tax because it will be regressive and hurt the poor. It is true that every sales tax is slightly regressive in its very nature. But what will hurt the lowest-earning quintile of our population the most: a penny-per-dollar increase in sales taxes, or a complete failure of the education system, allowing absolutely no room for economic and social advancement?
Others opposed to Prop. 100 despise any increase in taxes, no matter the purpose. They argue that Arizona should just do "more with less," and that raising taxes will be bad for the economy.
Economists - including the governor's budget director- say that the number of jobs saved by this proposition will more than equal potential job loss from a 1-cent tax increase. We cannot just do more with less. It takes a certain amount of money to fund our schools, colleges, police and fire departments.
Without tax revenue, the government is unable to provide these services, and the entire state will suffer.
Today's tea party anti-tax protesters get their free-market ideas from Adam Smith. Even Smith wrote that people have to be taxed a certain level in order for a nation to provide for a few absolutely necessary public goods. Among them: public security and education. If Arizonans do not want their essential public services to fall by the wayside, the only choice is voting for the increased sales tax.
This is not a partisan matter, and our Republican governor, our school boards, our police and highway patrol organizations, and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry - individuals and groups from both ends of the political spectrum - realize the importance of Prop. 100.
This isn't an issue between conservatives or liberals; it is an issue between those who believe in a future and those who do not.
Students today have the right to an education and should not be put at a disadvantage just because we happened to be born in the 1990s.
Refusing to invest in our educations will not just hinder students now, but it will hurt Arizona's economy for years to come.
On May 18, we have a choice to make. Arizonans must choose whether or not to let education collapse, whether to allow public safety departments to become even more underfunded, whether to abolish hundreds of essential education jobs and whether the state can continue to function without a school system to support it.
Don't let our state crumble- vote yes on May 18.
Arizona's students, businesses and future depends on it.
E-mail Ezra Spiro at email@example.com