Students’ dollars impact Indianola community

by Grant Rodgers

In the last minute of tonight’s Indianola City Council candidate forum, I heard the most interesting comment of the evening.

It didn’t come from one of the candidates, either.

During his closing statement, at large candidate Greg Marchant told students in the crowd, “Simpson students are truly a part of this community.”

Behind me, a woman snapped, “Not taxpaying members.”

I couldn’t help but feel offended. After all, I’ve considered myself a taxpaying member of Indianola since the day I moved to Simpson.

Perhaps not the best move during the forum, but I turned around and, as quietly as possible, reminded her than in fact, all students pay taxes every time we make a purchase in Indianola.

In her defense, she approached me after the forum and politely informed me that she had strictly meant property taxes, not sales taxes. Still, there was something indicative in her comment.

Might some residents disregard the financial contribution the Simpson Community makes to the Indianola community?

I don’t want to speak to the opinions of Indianola residents, but I think the numbers remain worth pointing out.

Simpson College currently has 1,485 full-time students, according to its website. If just half of those students spend at least $1 a day in Indianola, the total at the end of the day is $44.55 in sales tax.

It doesn’t seem like that much, but after one year, it adds up to $16,260.75.

I understand this isn’t the most scientific calculation (we are not in school 365 days a year). But after you factor in that most of these purchases will be above $1 and the numbers students who end up staying in Indianola year-round, the numbers speak for themselves.

Consider how many tanks of gas, sticks of deodorant, tubes of toothpaste, Jimmy John’s sandwiches, Little Caesar’s pizzas, movie tickets, two-for-one margaritas and haircuts Simpson students purchase throughout the year in Indianola.

As Simpson students, our dollars speak in this community; never be told any differently.

However, whether or not we are considered a serious voting block remains to be seen.

I would encourage all students to talk to a friend who attended the forum or call the candidates and discuss their views. As more students become actively engaged in local issues, the more receptive the community will become to our ideas.

Read the Simpsonian’s report on the forum, discuss with your friends and then next Tuesday, go cast your vote.