Like others who oppose the proposed Library District, City Councilor Tom Ryan, in his guest column “Library District Not the Answer,” proclaimed his support for libraries in general, yet opposes the proposed tax district while failing to provide an alternative funding plan. It is easy to be against something. It is much harder to put forward a viable plan to solve a looming problem.
Those supporting the library taxing district have spent years researching alternative funding options. They have concluded that the taxing district solves the library funding problem for the long term. They are not intransigent. They just have never been offered any concrete proposals from those who say they want to keep the libraries open yet offer no researched and empirically supported ideas on how they would pay for maintaining quality services. There are always vague references to user fees, privatization, or other levies. But, to date, no one has actually put forward a real alternative plan.
Councilor Ryan is also disingenuous in saying he is “writing as a citizen, not as a City Councilor” ... when, in the very next sentence, he invokes his “oath as a councilor for the City of Roseburg ... to do what is in the best interest of the city.” That sounds to me like a city councilor trying to use his position as a councilor, not as a private citizen, to sway public opinion.
The final problem with Councilor Ryan’s column is his inflammatory offering up of the false equivalency that links the idea of making a “decision to permanently give away their hard-earned tax money and chance losing some police and fire personnel down the road” to funding the library.
It is the city and the county’s job to find a way to adequately fund all essential services, be they police, fire or library. If the city and county fail to find a way to fulfill this responsibility, then the citizens must take action to fund the gaps. That is exactly what the proposed library tax district will do.
Library supporters are not asking you to “give away your hard-earned tax money.” They are asking you to invest in the future of this community and all of its citizens by permanently funding Roseburg’s share of a county-wide library system as Roseburg’s wise citizens have done before us.
Those supporting the library taxing district have spent years researching alternative funding options. They have concluded that the taxing district solves the library funding problem for the long term. They are not intransigent.