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Our county has suffered enough
In these relentless economic times, who’d vote for a county tax increase short of county employees and seekers of a tax deduction or increased happiness by doing with less? A larger majority believe our county government does a lot of good around here and prefer it not be starved into irrelevance.
Who, but the county, has whole departments devoted to planning, health, solid waste, ground water management, public works, law and justice and human services? Without attention to such priorities, will they get done?
The Current Expense Fund supports most of the functions of local government. It’s the county’s chief operating Fund and gets only 7 percent of your property taxes. Meanwhile 80 percent of said taxes goes to special purpose districts such as fire departments, schools, the state and the library. For perspective, county fire districts collect more of your property taxes than the County Expense Fund.
To stabilize its finances, the county must cut an additional $2 million this year from programs and services needed by our community. Spending has already been reduced by $4.2 million since 2008, 60 people have been laid off, the commissioners have reduced their pay by over 10 percent, and 140 union employees now take unpaid furlough hours. Basic public safety and other essential services will be cut beyond today’s embarrassing levels.
This modest tax increase of 16 cents per thousand or $40 on a $250,000 house merely moves us from last place among Washington’s 39 counties in tax revenue, to second from the bottom. It’s time to change course with the appropriately named, Prop. 1