Anyway, in case you didn't read it, here's the gist of the story. Louisa County is getting a new jail. On November 7, while voters in Wapello are choosing between Chet Culver and Jim Nussle, they'll also vote on a 1-cent sales tax to be used to pay for said jail. When I first read that, I thought, "Here's a real opportunity for criminal justice advocates. Vote no on the sales tax, and if it fails Louisa County will be forced to rethink who it imprisons." Then I read the last line:
Supervisors said if the bond referendum does not pass, the jail costs would probably have to be paid for through property taxes.
So now it's a different matter altogether. Louisa County is getting a new jail, it's just a question of who will pay for it. And who should?
I feel like three arguments all make sense here, let me see if I can do them all justice:
Everyone should. The jail should be paid for through a sales tax, ensuring that everyone who needs the jail, and even some out-of-towners who don't, pay a share of it's construction costs.
Those who can afford to should. Property taxes should be used for the jail, as owners of larger properties are more likely to have the resources to pay for the jail.
No one should. The need for a new jail is a sign of the failings of our criminal justice system. We should halt the construction of new jails and instead re-evaluate who we're sending to them.
Which answer do you agree with? Vote in the poll on your right. I'll publish the results on Monday and post a new poll.