Whidbey News-Times


Healthy skepticism is good, but cast an informed vote | Publisher's column

Whidbey News-Times Executive Editor & Publisher
July 4, 2013 · Updated 3:09 PM

I think taxpayers are feeling fatigued. Not just by the rising costs of living, but also from the constant drumbeat of government asking for more money.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that rumbles of an additional state tax on gas wasn’t embraced with open arms.

Each time the price per gallon approaches $4, I get a knot in my stomach.

In that, I’m sure I’m not alone.

Nor should it be a shock that the skeptics quickly weighed in on the need for a proposed law and justice property tax increase and a bond for Whidbey General Hospital improvements.

The sense of of mistrust toward government is like a festering wound which is constantly having the scab ripped off.

How many times have you heard the comment, “isn’t that what the lottery revenue was supposed to pay for?”

Most people are willing to pay their fair share for improved public safety, and hopefully most understand what a valuable community resource we have in Whidbey General Hospital.

People simply want to know how every tax dollar will be spent.

And that’s absolutely fair.

The perception is that, once a tax or bond is approved, all bets are off and the money won’t be used in the manner promised. Or, that a tax, despite having an expiration date, will never go away.

Unfortunately, for many people, perception is reality.

The onus is on those seeking taxpayer dollars to convince those paying that their money will be well spent, and that they won’t later feel betrayed.

Voters have a job as well. It’s crucial to read, ask questions and listen. Simply rejecting a proposed tax increase or bond outright isn’t good stewardship.

As your community newspaper, we will be doing our part to ask the tough questions, and we’ll strive to provide you with as much information as possible to make an informed vote.

Keep reading.

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