Sound Off: Costco better than condos

In the opinion dated Jan. 3, the editor commented on sales tax money that is leaving the area and tax equalization. My reply:

In the first place, Oak Harbor is already a “big box store” community. Depending on your criteria, we have three for sure, four that probably qualify and one more coming. That tells me the quaint little rural town designation is long gone, adding another store won’t change much of anything. It might even cut down on the Deception Pass bridge traffic because a lot of people might stay closer to home. It certainly couldn’t hurt traffic in town very much.

In the second place, we aren’t “losing” any tax money, we’ve never had it to begin with and you can’t lose what you never had.

In the third place, Burlington or Everett sharing their tax money with Oak Harbor is the biggest crock of all. We said we don’t want any more stores, Burlington and Everett welcomed them, one of the positives is they get more tax revenue. It’s not their problem Oak Harbor decided to forego the tax revenues, bigger cities need the money for their services as badly as we do. The big urban areas couldn’t care less if we stay rural, grow exponentially, or disappear. If we carry this equalization nonsense further, Oak Harbor is a big box city so we should share our tax money with Friday Harbor since they don’t have any big stores. But wait a minute, Friday Harbor should share their money from their stores with Edison since Edison doesn’t have any stores at all. I think you can see where this is going and it is readily apparent that injecting logic and reason will kill equalization in a hurry. The only possible winners are the ones at the end, the truly rural areas. To quote the editor, “It doesn’t get any more “win-win” than that.” No way. Not even close, not in my book.

In the fourth place, since we are “missing” all this money, have no way to get any in the foreseeable future and claim we are rural, maybe we should cut down on some of the big city amenities we seem to think we need.

How about the library? Do we really need water piped to our houses and the sewage pumped away? WAIF can go, don’t animals live in the wild in rural areas? Do we need to have the ambulance or fire department show up in eight minutes? Parks and recreation? Hey, folks, these are big city benefits you think you have to have, but would like somebody else to pay for, and it doesn’t work that way. If you want big city perks, you have to pay big city money.

In the fifth place, I would rather have a 20-acre field with Costco on it than a 20-acre field filled with condos. At least Costco has limited hours, considerably smaller impact on public services (water, sewer, police, fire, etc.) probably even traffic, creates a number of good paying jobs (less traffic off the Island?) and would pay more taxes. On top of all that, they maintain their facilities and I wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Burlington!