Aside from the obvious importance of the presidential pick and the choices of down-ballot candidates, there are three propositions on Tuesday’s ballot that are of utmost consequence. Together, they are San Antonio’s answer to a tumultuous year. Our health and safety have been under attack, our families have grieved, and our economy has taken an unprecedented hit. The propositions are a foundational blueprint for recovery.
Proposition B, specifically, is an investment in our confidence in one another, in our ability to come together to rebuild our workforce, our families, and our economy. It is a pledge to make our city better than it was before the coronavirus pandemic. It is a workforce development and training initiative that targets San Antonians of all ages and from all parts of town who lost their jobs during the pandemic. Regardless of age, income, or residential status, the promise is that no one will be left behind.
Proposition B is about the opportunities people need now. It focuses on skills development training for high-demand jobs. From fork-lift operators to software developers, these jobs have immediate openings now. Many of the city’s large employers – like Boeing and H-E-B – have committed to hire applicants who are trained under this program.
The plan includes case management services that are designed to help displaced workers and students navigate the life obstacles that typically thwart the completion of studies and job training. It provides emergency financial assistance, as well as bus fare and car repair funds.
Proposition B does not raise taxes. Voters are simply deciding to redirect an existing Edwards Aquifer Protection Program one-eighth-cent sales tax and invest it in training our workforce. It helps San Antonio families affected by the pandemic get better-paying jobs.
Going forward, the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program will now be funded using revenue the City receives from SAWS. The City Council recently approved a plan to fund aquifer protection for the next decade, making it a permanent investment, not a temporary program. It is a double win. We can now invest in protecting our drinking water as well as in developing a highly skilled workforce.
Proposition B addresses a stark reality.
Nearly 1 in 5 San Antonio adults have no high school diploma or GED. More than 154,000 San Antonians have lost their jobs during the pandemic. At this moment 120,000 San Antonio families are struggling with food insecurity. But for too many of our neighbors this reality is not new. Sixty-eight thousand unemployment claimants in our area were earning less than $22,000 a year before the pandemic ended their jobs. And 50 percent of the families that are struggling with food insecurity today were already struggling to find their next meal before COVID.
Proposition B is an investment in our community and in the belief that our fellow San Antonians have the capacity and the drive to provide a better life for themselves and their families. It’s an investment in our community. When our neighbors do better, we all do better.
Our health and economy may have been battered, but we remain resilient. And come Election Day, voting for Proposition B is the clear choice for our community’s commitment to our future.