Letters to the Editor

Teen behavior on buses doubted

I would like to respond to the July 22 article about the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce opposing the transit tax hike. The article quoted a couple of chamber members' responses to the chamber's survey. One responding cited "a potential for Oak Harbor businesses to lose sales to Burlington and Mount Vernon," and another lamented, "This will drive more people away from shopping in our area."

Before I address these comments let me tell you that I have lived in Oak Harbor for 13 years. I have always tried to keep my business on the island as I feel it is important to support the local economy.

There are three reasons for me not purchasing on the island: The item is not available on the island, poor customer service or the item is considerably less off the island.

If businesses think the sales tax drives customers away they need to take a serious look at how they do business. If an item can be purchased for the same amount on the island as off, why would I drive off the island. For an item costing $1,000 the sales tax on the island would be $5 more than in Skagit County. (Figured at what the new sales tax would be, 8.7 percent). It would cost me more than $5 in gas to get to Mt. Vernon and back.

One more quick comment regarding Jason Joiner's letter (News-Times, July 29). Mr. Joiner states that Island Transit costs every man, woman and child in Island County around $360 a year. At the current rate of 6/10 of 1 percent that means every person spends $60,000 a year on taxable items. Wow, wish I had that kind of spending money! Anyhow, not all of Island Transit's budget comes from sales tax.

Also, It has been my experience that the teenagers on the bus are pretty quiet in the mornings as they are still half asleep. It is after school after having numerous doses of sugar that they are rowdy. Makes me wonder if Mr. Joiner actually does ride the bus every day. Hmmm.

Dana O'Blenes

Oak Harbor

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