It was with much dismay that I read the Sunday, Feb. 15, Deseret News front page article about funding the Olympics with tax money. The article stated that Gov. Mike Leavitt is thinking about using tax money to subsidize the Olympics after all. I am disgusted but not surprised.
The real cause for my alarm is not the fact that my taxes will be poorly spent on a 17-day international fling. What makes me feel embarrassed and even enraged is the justification given for needing to put tax money into the Olympics. The article stated that Utah did not want to "be known for hosting a cheap Olympics."As a public school teacher, this statement makes me sick. No other state in America pays less to educate a student than Utah. That should put all of us to shame. The SLOC, legislators and taxpayers should all be humiliated to have the world know that we are that cheap. Why is it that we don't want to be known for hosting a cheap Olympics, yet we perpetually underfund our children?
I am not anti-Olympics; I just can't understand why legislators are considering investing our money into the Olympics when the returns will likely be more crime, more growth problems and more traffic. Education, on the other hand, offers a much more promising return. Less crime, better trained work force and stronger families.
We need to do better. Our children need us to do better. We need smaller classes, more computers, newer books in our libraries, more assistants, better salaries for teachers, science and math equipment and more programs to help children resist drugs, gangs and other crimes.
We spend less on our children's education than any other state. Why? I've always heard it was because we couldn't afford to spend more on our children. I am ashamed and angry that we can find money to impress the world, but we can't find the money to educate and prepare our children for the future.
Jennifer Sonntag Brown