One day after the second-largest school district in the city voiced concerns about Mayor Julian Castro's Pre-K 4 SA initiative, several business organizations stepped up Thursday to announce their support for the proposal.
At a news conferencel, representatives from the Greater, Hispanic, Black, Women's, North, South and Westside Chambers of Commerce rallied their support for the initiative.
"The Greater Chamber is completely, 100 percent behind the Pre-K 4 SA initiative," said Richard Perez, president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. "We're behind it for one simple reason, and that is we want to be known as the city of education."
Perez and representatives from each chamber asked voters to vote for the initiative, which would raise the sales tax by an eighth of a cent and would provide full day Pre-K to more than 22,000 children.
"We believe that it's not time to sit on the sidelines for San Antonio," said Larry Anthis of the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. "There's got to be support and we got to stand in favor of initiatives that have a chance. There are no easy solutions. That's a fact, but this one has a chance."
Although supporters of the proposal said the sales tax increase would cost the median household $7.81 a year, those who oppose the plan said it's going to cost taxpayers a lot more.
"It's been advertised as this will only cost you $7.81 a year in additional taxes, but we've been looking at that issue," said Bob Martin, president of the Homeowners Taxpayer Association of Bexar County. "We've asked the city through an open records request to show us how they came up with that, because we can't come up with anything that little."
Northeast Independent School District officials are also voicing concerns with the proposal, saying the district could lose money during the program's initial stages.
However, the local chambers said Thursday that Pre-K 4 SA is an investment and they are asking people to vote for it Nov. 6.
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