No one can know the future except that there will be one.
A vote in favor of the $300 million school bonds proposal as well as a related sales tax proposal that Guilford County has put on the ballot is a vote of hope for the future.
Barring cataclysm, people will continue to live and work in Guilford County. Businesses will need new workers. Children will go to school and grow up to find their way in the world.
All of that becomes easier and better if the Guilford County Schools can begin the work to repair or replace aging, outdated facilities.
County and school officials have acknowledged that $300 million is less than one-fifth the amount needed to tackle all the work that is needed. This would just be a downpayment. But it would be a start.
Borrowing money in the midst of a pandemic might seem like a gamble, but consider the certainties. Old buildings only get older. Outdated infrastructure only grows farther out of date. Children get a year older every year.
Ideally, government would add new debt only during economic booms. But life is rarely ideal.
Economists predict the economy will continue growing, regardless of the election outcome and in spite of the pandemic. The region will continue trying to lure new businesses, which will consider the local workforce and how well the schools prepare the workers that the businesses need.
We need to get started.
Voters also should approve a proposal to add 0.25 percentage point to the local sales tax. The county is not allowed by law to expressly commit the increase toward paying the bond debt, but that is what it would do. As The Enterprise has noted previously, if voters approve the proposed increase, the cost of buying a $5 item at Sheetz will go up by 1 penny. The cost of a $200 item at Lowe’s will increase by 50 cents.
It is literally a small price to pay for future generations. It is not the least we can do, but it isn’t far off.