Federal spending interests crowd

While federal tax season has come and gone, how the money is spent was on the minds of many attending a Town Hall meeting April 21 at Oak Harbor Senior Center.

Approximately 100 people turned out to talk with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen about current issues and upcoming federal legislation.

People’s thoughts on the current tax situation ranged from curtailing tax cuts due to federal needs, to being more critical of planned tax cuts, to concerns about the status of tax reform.

Larsen said he supports a taxpayer “bill of rights” and that steps must be taken to curtail the projected federal deficit in the coming years.

Some people wanted to know about corporations hiding money overseas and the status of Social Security and Medicare reform. Others wondered how the federal government could ease the local cost of Homeland Security.

Larsen agreed that Congress needs to do a better job of reimbursing local governments for such expenses.

Also on the subject of terrorism, he said he would also like to see parts of the Patriot Act be repealed, for example the power of police to access people’s library records without their knowledge.

He mentioned that Attorney General John Ashcroft wants to introduce a second Patriot Act. Before supporting that, he wants to know how the first act has been used.

So far, Larsen said that Ashcroft has refused to come forward. He equated the situation to a child eating his vegetables.

“The attorney general has to eat his Brussels sprouts and until he does he’s not going to get dessert,” Larsen said.

Some of the legislation that Larsen is working on includes restoring impact aid funding for school districts such as Oak Harbor, providing more veterans services funding, and adding transportation spending in this state.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at or 675-6611.

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