Letters to the Editor

Don’t blame the taxpayers

I was amused by James Bruner’s Jan. 23 letter, “Voters caused ferry mess.” Mr. Bruner, I also moved here from California. We lived in California far longer than we have lived here, but Proposition 13 in California relieved an incredible tax burden on homeowners in California.

Before Prop 13, you could actually go to a California Community College and take classes in Frisbee throwing techniques, Origami paper folding and Feng Shu. While physical exercise and hobbies are important, frivolous classes paid for by the property taxes of homeowners is an act of fiscal irresponsibility that cannot be ignored.

There was even talk of tripling the car registration fees in California before we left. This would have brought my $500 per year registration fee to $1,500 per year. I could go on, however the crazy tax legislation in California was the reason that the people overwhelmingly voted to recall Gov. Gray Davis.

The ferry system in Washington State has been in disrepair for years. This, I believe, was caused by the unwillingness on the part of the state Legislature to face the fact that an 80-year-old ferry that was 30 years past its life expectancy was a tragedy waiting to happen. The ferries that have been decommissioned could have been replaced long ago while still affordable without huge tax increases.

We have had fare rate hikes every year since I have been here, yet the problem got buried by the press and the government. Mr. Bruner, the voters did not cause the ferry crisis, the Legislature did by their “ignore it and eventually it will go away” mentality. You are correct that services do cost money and the people of Washington rally to good causes. The people of Island County voted for several recent major property tax levies to improve our EMS service and schools proving that if a problem arises, Washingtonians will respond, but we must be aware of the problem before it becomes a crisis.

Washingtonians are to be congratulated for their “spend what we give you wisely” attitude. Mr. Bruner, I would like to recommend to you that if you are so fond of taxes, perhaps you should relocate to California since you seem to feel that over taxation is the key to solving many problems caused by the incompetence of government.

Barbara Lyter

Oak Harbor

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