EDITORIAL: Growth means money for all

Island County reported about $160 million in new construction last year, which translates into roughly $1.6 million in new tax revenues (at $10 per thousand) to be divvied up among the various taxing districts.

It’s easy to understand while local government officials, from county commissioners and mayors on down, are such enthusiastic supporters of growth. Growth translates into more money for such necessities as fire and police protection, emergency medical care, schools and libraries. And thanks to growth, this additional revenue comes without the political trauma of implementing a tax increase.

Revenue from growth doesn’t stop at just property taxes. All that building material is taxed at the point of sale, with revenues again boosting county and city coffers. Indirectly, construction workers are paid and spend their money in the county, adding more tax income as well as direct spending that supports businesses which in turn pay their share of taxes.

Certainly, growth requires more government services, but those are usually in the long run -- more kids in school, for example, and more roads in need of repair. There’s little doubt that when it comes to balancing next year’s budget, properly managed growth is a good thing.

Island County, mirroring the region as a whole, has enjoyed a growth boom for the past several years. This has alleviated some of the pain caused by voter-approved initiatives, such as I-747 which limited property tax increases to 1 percent a year.

They say that every boom is followed by a bust. If this proves true in construction industry, the whole county will be hurting.

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