Editorial: Help your fellow man without taxes

Thanks to Tuesday’s election, the tax on soda pop and candy will be removed, there will be no state income tax, and any further tax ideas from the Legislature will take a two-thirds majority in pass. In other words, goodbye to tax increases in Washington state, unless something so dire happens that Democrats and Republicans agree that they are needed. We can’t see that short of a devastating combination earthquake/tsunami that wipes out the waterfront drinking establishments that our leaders of both parties love so well.

But in the meantime, needs increase at the local level, particularly during this horrid economy. That’s where United Way of Island County comes in. It’s nearing the end of its 2010 fundraising campaign, on which many deserving and necessary agencies depend. They don’t require tax dollars, just giving hearts from island residents.

The goal this year is a relatively modest $275,000, which is less than last year’s $300,000. It’s not that needs are decreasing. It’s just that people are giving less and the United Way wanted an achievable goal this year. Right now, they’ve got a long way to go to hit $250,000. Islanders will have to pitch in quickly to make the fundraising goal a success by Nov. 15.

The United Way was started years ago to put various fundraising efforts under one tent. There were so many individual fundraising projects happening at one that nobody could be sure of the institution involved, or whether they had already given. The United Way brought the worthiest of these endeavors under one umbrella, vouched for their authenticity and audited their books so people knew the dollars they gave would be used as intended. The idea has worked splendidly for years, with United Way the chief fundraiser for many worthy organizations.

In Island County the United Way supports 20 familiar agencies. To name just a few, there is the Armed Services YMCA, Big/Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts and Girl County, Citizens Against Domestic Abuse, Compass Health, Habitat for Humanity, Help House, Senior Services, Volunteer Senior Center, Whidbey Island Share-A-Home, and several others.

Many of these nonprofit agencies are hurting because of past and future state budget cuts, which trickle down to county budget cuts. The backup to government help is private donations which are needed now more than ever. So take some of that pop and candy tax you saved, or the income tax you won’t be paying, and give it to an outstanding nonprofit like United Way, which knows where the needs are in the community. Send a check to United Way of Island County, 350 SE Pioneer Way, Suite 102, P.O. Box 798, Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Or just call 675-1778 or email cniiro@uwic.comcastbiz.net.

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