Skip to content

Our spending shows our values

June 11, 2011

NJC’s Hope Gala is one of the highlights of my year. This annual event, held in the spring, raises money for a scholarship program to help area students attend NJC.  The night features fine dining, an auction, and a dance with a live band.

The Hope Gala has grown each year since it initiated more than five years ago. Last year, the event netted $100,000 for the scholarship program. The final tally is not in this year, but it appears it will again be around this six-figure mark.

I am amazed when I see the generosity displayed among our fine community members, from local businesses purchasing tables for dining to those who bid for auction items. It is evident that we have a community that supports education.

How we spend our money says a lot about our values. It is easy to say that you have certain values, but actions speak louder than words. Look at what you have spent your money on in the past year, and that will show what is important to you.

This can be a scary dose of reality for some people. You can say you value education, family, and your faith, but do your expenses back up your claim? If you say family is important, but you mostly spend money on yourself, then obviously your claim is not true. You may say your faith and church are important, but do you support it financially?

What we value in terms of spending our money not only applies on an individual or family level. Look at our groups and society. The way our town, county, state and country spend money also partially reflects our values. You may argue what Washington D.C. spends does not represent your values, but you need to remember that we live in a democracy, and your vote elects those in our nation’s capital who pass a federal budget.

Since living in Colorado the past 3 ½ years, it is evident to me that this state values low taxes.  Colorado is currently ranked 46th in terms of state revenue per capita. This means there are only four states that have lower state revenues per person in the country.

This is a value that everyone would seem to support. Most of us want more of the money we make to end up in our bank accounts. However, there always are tradeoffs. Among them, less money in taxes means less funding for education. Colorado currently ranks 42nd in per pupil funding, 50th in teacher’s salaries as a percent of pay in comparable professions, and 48th in spending in higher education per full-time student.

This is concerning, especially since I work in higher education and have a 3 ½-year-old daughter who will be entering the school system in a couple of years. I take hope in the fact that I see local people who are willing to invest in NJC. This is encouraging, but I hope as a state we have a shift in the value we place in investing in education.

The numbers do not lie. Look at what you and your state truly values by following the money. If you do not like what you see, perhaps you should initiate a change in your spending, and our lawmaker’s.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: