Wallowing in our own filth: thoughts on WA’s impending financial meltdown

Earlier this week I blogged on Seattle Times and AP reports on the financial woes of small-town Washington, like Mansfield and Bridgeport in rural Douglas County. [“Unintended consequences” Part 1 and Part 2]

Josh Feit follows up on the mainstream media’s sympathetic news coverage, but in The Stranger’s characteristically mean mien: “You Made Your Bed.”

Josh interviews Tricia Sima, tiny Mansfield’s beleaguered town clerk, who has been forced to cut a host of services — and add custodial duties to her own job description — as the city lost 76% of its revenues in the wake of Tim Eyman’s anti-car-tab I-695, and anti-property-tax I-747. Josh was decidedly unsympathetic.

After I established that Sima was a Republican (“I’m a bit conservative,” she chimed proudly) I asked her my question: Had the harsh reality of budget cuts made her reevaluate her conservative convictions about taxes? “No,” she told me emphatically. “I believe we can cut other programs that would not hurt the small rural areas.” (How’s that for traditional values? Greed and selfishness.)

According to Josh, compared to a rural county like Douglas, an urban county like King contributes 110 percent more state sales tax per capita, yet gets back from the state only 21 percent more. And King County actually generates 41 percent of state sales tax revenues, while Douglas County nets nearly $300,000 in special assistance. I have been warned in the past that revenue flow comparisons such as these can be complex and misleading, but have been assured by every “expert” I have consulted that, contrary to the myth oft repeated by politicians east of the Cascades, revenue does indeed flow from urban to rural areas.

Yet Douglas County voted 70.3 percent for I-695 and 69.9 percent for I-747. Josh is justifiably irritated at the suggestion that we should cut our services to maintain theirs.

Despite their disproportionate role in the equation, Republicans like Sima think services for the rural areas should take priority when taxes are cut. To that I say, I hope Mansfield’s leaky sewage lagoon is somewhere near Sima’s home.

Now some might (will) argue that if Mansfield wants more public services they are free to tax themselves. But Eyman’s I-776 was a statewide initiative aimed at preventing voters in three urban counties from doing exactly that… taxing themselves. A political “fuck you” that promised to stop Sound Transit from building light rail, it passed by a comfortable margin throughout most of the state, but failed in nearly every precinct within the Sound Transit taxing district.

Understand that the local MVET taxes I-776 banned were only levied in a handful of western Washington counties, and yet people like Sima voted to prevent us, from taxing ourselves, to maintain our public infrastructure… while at the same time expecting us to divert our dwindling tax revenues to subsidize theirs.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe most voters go to the polls attempting to do what they believe is right for their community. Unfortunately, our sense of community has grown so incredibly narrow, that we often fail to see the complex tangle of social, political, and economic interdependencies that Washington state really is. I join Josh Feit in his justifiable outrage over Sima’s misinformed and shortsighted politics, but rather than taking I-told-you-so satisfaction from the image of her backyard overflowing with sewage, I view it as a disturbing metaphor for Washington’s potential future.

There is a growing consensus in Olympia that structural flaws in Washington’s tax system are so profound, that beyond the perpetual budget crises we have now, state and local governments will eventually fall into a catastrophic financial meltdown, sometime within the next decade. Some Democrats see this as an opportunity, a point at which Washington will have no choice but to accept an income tax… or cease to be a modern economy.

I’m not so confident that given the current political climate, voters will make the responsible choice. Major tax restructuring is absolutely essential if we are to stay vital and competitive. But not even a fatal crisis will get us there, unless we first educate voters as to the realities of our current system, and the advantages of a new one.

Politics is rarely about leadership. Most successful politicians are more adept at convincing voters that they agree with us, than at persuading us to agree with them. But giving voters what they want is not leading… it is following.

It is time for individuals and organizations to take on the arduous and nearly-impossible task of shifting public opinion. Whether rising above the rhetorical rancor, or harnessing it to their own devices, it is time for leaders to step forth and risk their political careers in the service of persuading voters that tax restructuring is in the self-interest of all of Washington’s citizens, even those few at the top who will surely see their taxes rise. It is time to build a consensus for a tax system that at the very least meets the needs of a twentieth-century economy, if not the twenty-first.

Republicans refuse to engage in an honest public debate over the proper size and scope of government, because despite the loudmouthed libertarians on the right-wing blogs, they know they’ll lose. And Democrats are equally fearful of telling voters the truth about what it actually takes to give us the services we demand; instead, they perpetuate the charade that we can continue to close an endless series of multi-billion dollar budget gaps without raising revenues… or reverting to a nineteenth-century economy.

Yes I know that I am generalizing; there are some politicians willing to speak out on these issues, but rarely loud enough. For when someone like Ron Sims does, we the people take out his knees, desperately angry at the messenger for telling us what we don’t want to hear. Meanwhile, the politicians who lie the best, we reward the most. There is an odd, pathological symbiosis between us voters and our elected officials, that I would say is suggestive of the “Stockholm Syndrome” if only I could figure out who has been taken hostage by whom.

But we need political leadership whether we want it or not. So somebody better provide some before there’s no one left to lead.

It may be spitefully satisfying to envision Tricia Sima encamped on the edge of her leaking sewage lagoon, but it won’t be so amusing ten or twenty years from now when we are all wallowing in our own communal, political shit, passionately blaming the other guy for what went wrong.

Personally, I’m still willing to help Tricia clean up her mess, if she’s willing to help me clean up mine.

Comments

  1. 1

    Chuck spews:

    I’m not so confident that given the current political climate, voters will make the responsible choice. Major tax restructuring is absolutely essential if we are to stay vital and competitive. But not even a fatal crisis will get us there, unless we first educate voters as to the realities of our current system, and the advantages of a new one.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..

    Really Goldy, I think it is time government shrinks to a more accepable level and uses the money they have more efficiently. Not that I am against a tax restructure, but it must be led by a serious start of eliminating non essential programs and using the tax money as efficiently as the taxpayers you take it from. People have had enough of the governments just jacking and spiraling upward taxes and are going to continue to revolt against them at the ballot. You constantly voice your distaste for Eyeman and/or his initiatives, as I have constantly said I dont care for his financial arrangments but I will support him by signing and voting on initiatives I support of his. Like it or not the state and exessive taxes created Tim Eyeman. If this state had kept the tax burden resonable, the only way you would have heard the name Tim Eyeman is if you bought a watch from him. Oh well, though I am talking to a socialist here…kind of like trying to push a rope….

  2. 2

    Dave spews:

    “I believe we can cut other programs that would not hurt the small rural areas.”

    Yep, it was just like I thought. Republicans want us “dumb liberals” to pay all of the taxes while they pay none, but still have access to the bank account.

  3. 3

    Erik spews:

    One of the problems that proponents of tax restructuring have is that the public believes that overall taxes would simply go up with a state income tax.

  4. 4

    RDC spews:

    Great post…and it is the conservatives who keep harping that liberals just don’t get it. I love the irony. I also admire your almost Salvation Army-like willingness to keep forgiving the sinners and helping them no matter how lost they seem to be. However, my sympathies are with Josh Feit. You will not get through to people with a mindset like Tricia Sima’s. They are convinced, as an article of faith, that the bulk of their tax dollars go to support ne’er-do-wells in Seattle and bureaucrats in Olympia. That this is an article of faith is clear; no amount of evidence will penetrate beyond their retinas or eardrums. I’ve tried. Others have tried. Over the years, probably multitudes have tried. Somehow, we have to find a way to proceed with modernizing the state’s tax structure without the support of all but a handful of eastside conservatives. That likely means working very hard to increase the number of representatives, Democrat and Republican, who acknowledge the problem and are willing to take a few risks to address it. It may also mean standing by and doing nothing as rural communities deteriorate.

  5. 5

    RDC spews:

    Comment by Chuck…..led by a serious start at eliminating non-essential programs and using the money as efficiently as the taxpayers you take it from>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    My question to you is, what are the two or three non-essential programs you would eliminate? As to taxpayers using their money efficiently, have you been to a landfill recently? Or been hemmed in on the road by Hummers?

  6. 6

    Goldy spews:

    I think it is time government shrinks to a more accepable level

    Chuck, that is the debate over the proper size and scope of government that I would love to have… because I’m confident the majority of voters agree more with me than with you when it comes to cutting particular programs and services. My problem with Eyman — and with just letting the status quo wither our government away — is that we never have that debate. We keep promising voters something for nothing, and eventually we get nothing… which may be fine by you, but it is not what voters are expecting.

    Erik… yes… voters don’t trust an income tax. Part of the beauty of the Sims plan was that it eliminated the sales tax and the B&O by constitutional amendment so that voters could be confident we wouldn’t just inch the sales tax back up.

    It may also mean standing by and doing nothing as rural communities deteriorate.

    RDC… the problem is, people’s support for government is proportionate to the level of services they are getting. The more government service declines, the less supportive people will be of taxes.

    I think this is the message from the precinct map the last time an income tax was on the ballot. In Seattle, its strongest support came from the wealthiest neighborhoods and its weakest support from the poorest. People voted contrary to self-interest, because people in wealthy neighborhoods get better service and thus have more faith in government, whereas people in poorer neighborhoods do not.

    What we need to do is educate Sima about what she has to lose if the status quo continues (in her case, eventually her job.) We also need to convince her that her own taxes will not go up under a Sims-like plan.

  7. 7

    D Huygens spews:

    There was talk a while ago about requiring initiatives that cut taxes to identify the program cuts to go with it, and requiring intiatives that mandated new spending to identify the new revenue source as well … that would be a good first step.

    It is fine and dandy to say, cut taxes … as long as you say what programs you want to cut as a result. One person’s wasteful government program is another’s critical lifeline.

  8. 9

    jcricket spews:

    What we need to do is educate Sima about what she has to lose if the status quo continues (in her case, eventually her job.) We also need to convince her that her own taxes will not go up under a Sims-like plan.

    My intellect tells me to agree with you. Rational people can be pursuaded to pragmatically vote in their economic self-interest if shown the benefit of good government (or shown how they’re already benefiting from the government).

    But my gut tells me that if Sima loses her job, she’ll continue to blame Olympia (read: liberals and Democrats) for not magically conjuring up new tax revenue (read: eliminating other services she doesn’t “use” to free up their tax revenue).

    Republicans have a universal scapegoat for any problem with the government – it’s always the liberals’ fault (even when Republicans are in power). Taxes too high? Must be the fault of the liberals. Lower taxes directly result in the necessary elimination of services? Still the fault must be the fault of the liberals.

    David Horsey’s cartoon on 1/18 demonstrates this well:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/.....sp?id=1144

    I’m not sure I have the answer, but I must credit Republicans with convincing working class Americans that the “tax cuts for the rich” party has their economic self-interest at heart, when it so clearly doesn’t. The Republican Governor of Alabama had an apparent moment of moral clarity when he decided the state needed a tax increase to pay for needed services, and called it a “Christian duty”. And for this he gets pilloried by his allies and abandonded by his fellow Republicans. Note that some unlikely allies (Democrats) got behind his proposal.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/n.....hike_x.htm

    Riley says the tax increase is needed to erase Alabama’s biggest deficit since the Depression and improve education. The plan also seeks to help the poor by raising the income level at which people have to begin paying state taxes.

    Riley, a Southern Baptist, says Alabama has taxed its poorest too harshly for too long.

    “According to our Christian ethics, we’re supposed to love God, love each other and help take care of the poor,” he said. “It is immoral to charge somebody making $5,000 an income tax.”

    Two of the governor’s cabinet members who resigned after Riley made the proposal. One of them, Labor Commissioner Charles Bishop, now leads opposition to the tax plan, saying Alabama voters thought they were getting one kind of governor last year, but instead have another.

  9. 10

    Goldy spews:

    Hey Josef… she’s kind of cute. Maybe I can play James Carville to her Mary Matalan?

  10. 11

    RDC spews:

    Comment by Goldy-1/21/05 @ 3:03 pm

    ……..I think this is the message from the precinct map, etc>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Who knows for sure, but it’s possible your analysis is flawed. Implicit in it is an assumption that people in poorer neighborhoods in Seattle are opposed to an income tax for the same reasons conservatives in rural eastern Washington are. I have no proof, but my opinion is that this is not the case. I think that if you show to a low-income Seattle resident, who likely leans Democrat in her views (given voting stats), that her total tax payout under an income tax would be equal to or less than she pays in sales taxes, a fairer way to assess the cost of government services, and that there were formidable barriers to any increase in the rates by which income could be taxed, you might get a convert. I doubt very much that you would have the same success with the Simas of eastern Washington. The admittedly small universe of those I’ve spoken with there simply have a different view of the world than do the admittedly small universe of poor Seattlites I’ve spoken with. That’s why I think that efforts should be focused where there is some hope of success; i.e., mainly on this side of the divide.

  11. 12

    Steve spews:

    Why don’t we just pass an initiative banning revenue-sharing and “equalization” payments, and making all gas taxes be spent in the county in which they’re generated (except, maybe, the Interstate highways) until the Eyman initiatives are repealed? At least that way the “financial meltdown” will hit first those who caused it.

  12. 14

    zip spews:

    Goldy, what leadership has Locke, Gregoire or any of the democrats in the legislature shown on this issue? Surely you should admit that IF when the equalization policy was developed, there was a rational basis for it (I know not what that basis was or when it was first enacted) then that basis should be dredged back up for our elected officials to debate. If the reason for equalization is strong enough, compared to other state spending, then our elected representatives are supposed to prioritize and fix it. They’ve had a few years to do this and have not. They will not prioritize state spending. It is easier and more politically expedient for the politicians to stick to the status quo and blame 695.

    Look at it another way. Suppose taxes are restructured in a revenue-neutral way. Mansfield is still broke under that scenario.

    This whole business of lefties crowing about west vs. east makes me sick. You sound like a bunch of spoiled kids. We’re all citizens of the same state so get on the team, why dontcha?

  13. 15

    Jim King spews:

    Goldy- You just don’t get it. Implicit in your position is that tax “restructuring” is increased revenue. That is why tax restructuring always fails.

    Beyond that, look to Oregon for the value of the income tax. They are in so much a worse situation than we are, because their tax system is more volatile.

    And Sims did NOT have a plan- he had some rough concepts that would not have worked. As just one example, How do you capture business profit distribution to out-of-state owners/stockholders?

    Before you continue harping on the fallacy that the urban counties subsidize the rural, get your homework done. Track where purchasers actually reside, not where they purchase. Allocate corporate headquarters activities out to where the economic activity takes place. And so on. Liberals ALWAYS seem to fail to do these simple things.

    Then they allocate all the cost of I-90 through Kittitas County TO Kittitas County residents and complain that Kittitas County residents are not sufficiently grateful for that subsidy.

    I guess the problem is that blogging is about countering the other guy, not fostering intellectually rigorous debate. Ya’ll make it to easy not to take your arguments seriously…

  14. 16

    Jim King spews:

    So here’s some serious thoughts.

    Business- especially small business- has consistently indicated that the b&o tax runs a very poor third (if that high) in comparison to worker comp and unemployment insurance taxes.

    Liberals pet bugaboo- BIAW- prospers off the ineptly run worker comp system. Most small businesses are badly hurt by this system, but labor- and hence the Democrats- will not entertain any real thought of serious reform.

    As long as business taxes can be wasted in this inept way, the small business community will not believe that there is not more waste to be cut out of state government. We have consistently made it clear that as long as excessive taxes are being extracted for this part of state government, do NOT look to us for support for any other revenue options.

    Until people such as small business owners are convinced that waste has been substantially removed from state government, you are NOT going to get to the level of support necessary to consider revenue options. Until you deal with the mess at L&I, you are not going to convince us that you are serious.

    Is that such an unclear message, so difficult to understand?

  15. 17

    Erik spews:

    Earlier this week I blogged on Seattle Times and AP reports on the financial woes of small-town Washington, like Mansfield and Bridgeport in rural Douglas County.

    I am just not so sure that there is a problem at all Goldy.

    These small counties seem perfectly happy to have their services cut and eliminated if necessary. I bet they would still vote for any Eyman intiative that was offered to them.

    The problem with liberals is that they won’t let these small counties experience the impact of the initiatives that they pass. Instead, they bail them financially out, contribute more than their share and have the small counties complain that all of the money was not necessary.

    In the end, the people in each county need to see the impact of their decisions. Plus, if the small counties are dead set 2 to 1 to elimate most of their government services why not let them. Maybe then when they see they have no police, fire, schools, or other services they will change their positions.

  16. 18

    RDC spews:

    Jim King Comment #15

    Tax restructuring that increases revenue doesn’t always fail. The one done during Reagan’s second term comes to mind (and was masterfully done).

    Perhaps you are right that the notion that urban counties subsidize rural ones is a fallacy, but it is counter-intuitive to think so. You list a few examples of economic activity, and suggest that liberals ALWAYS seem to fail to do “these simple things” (i.e., allocate the activity properly). Saying that liberals always fail to do these things suggests that conservatives do do them, and having done them, have come to your conclusion; that conclusion being that the notion that urban counties subsidize rural ones is a fallacy. Fair enough. Could you share with us the information you have developed by doing “these simple things”?

  17. 19

    Erik spews:

    Here’s a perfect exmaple:

    The January 17 Seattle Times wire story “Rural Town Feeling the Pinch” reported that Sima–thanks to severe budget cuts–had taken up the city’s custodial duties, including cleaning the bathroom.

    . . .

    Had the harsh reality of budget cuts made her reevaluate her conservative convictions about taxes? “No,” she told me emphatically

    Goldy, is there a problem here? I hate to take the conservative position here. However, Sima seems totally happy to pay less tax and clean the bathroom herself. More power to her.

    Maybe the appropriate analogy is someone who eats macaroni and cheese everyday for all of their meals and enjoys it. Unhealthy and unwise. However, who is someone to say this is wrong and try to intervene?

    Plus, until the small counties seem some kind of relation to their votes on Eyman’s initiatives and their services being cut, they are going to keep voting 70 percent to cut taxes.

  18. 20

    zip spews:

    Comment by Erik— 1/21/05 @ 6:56 pm

    The point you are missing is that even though 695 cut the one tax that funded the equalization payments to the small towns, the other taxes coming into the state still provided enough revenue to provide equalization money to those towns from other sources. This whole argument is just like the typical response of our “leaders” when there’s not enough revenue to fund everything they want to fund: cutting police, fire and libraries. The small towns were left out by the legislature, not the 695 voters.

    The argument Goldy is pushing here is not fair to anyone arguing that the OVERALL level of taxation in this state is high enough or too high. Because so many of the taxes are sliced and diced and dedicated to different things, cutting any single tax will always lead to arguments like this one. Unless a leader or two actually fixes the situation. Leaders are supposed to get past details like this and fix the problems caused by, for example, 695 and the democrats that run this state never did.

    As far as I’m concerned you guys are saying “nyah nyah we told you so” to rural residents and that doesn’t serve any useful purpose. In fact it seems quite cynical.

  19. 21

    Erik spews:

    even though 695 cut the one tax that funded the equalization payments to the small towns

    Yes. I agree.

    you guys are saying “nyah nyah we told you so” to rural residents and that doesn’t serve any useful purpose

    I don’t think that’s the case. However, there is a cause in effect here. If you vote to limit taxes, services are going to be reduced.

    I believe that if taxes are raised, one should be able to see a tangible result. (ie a new swimming pool).

    Likewise, if taxes are cut, one should see the result as well. (the town swimming pool is closed).

    Then voters can assess just what services they want and which ones they don’t want. Everyone has an idea of the level of taxes and services they want. Libertarians want almost zero services. Socialists want a lot. The rest of us fall in between.

    Leaders are supposed to get past details like this and fix the problems caused by, for example, I-695

    Maybe. However, I-695 was passed by a pretty large margin if I remember and lawmakers are going to be relunctant to go against the will of the people. Because of its popularity, all of the parties rushed to implement the car tab rebate even though it was ruled unconstitutional.

    I think it may just be possible that some smaller counties are basically libertarian. They don’t want any government services other perhaps police. They certainly don’t want DSHS services of any kind, or regulatory agencies concerning fish, water or other resource. Because many of them may send their children to private/religious schools or homeschool their children, they may not be supportive of public schools.

    If they were given a chance to cut taxes further nationally, statewide or locally I would have no doubt they would do so. I just don’t know how productive it is to tell them to tax themselves more so they can have services they don’t want.

  20. 22

    Richard Pope spews:

    Comment by Josef— 1/21/05 @ 4:28 pm

    Someone should make a public records request to the Thurston County Sheriff. For the booking mugshot of Erin Shannon of BIAW:

    “The following actions occurred in (Thurston County) District Court involving those charged with driving while under the influence of intoxicants: Shannon, Erin Colleen, 32, 3830 Arbor Drive S.E., Lacey, found guilty, fined $240, sentenced to serve 365 days with 364 suspended. Date of violation: Dec. 4.”

    http://www.theolympian.com/hom....._ARC.shtml

    Comment by Goldy— 1/21/05 @ 4:43 pm

    Okay, she is kinda cute. But I thought you were married?

  21. 23

    Erik spews:

    As far as I’m concerned you guys are saying “nyah nyah we told you so” to rural residents and that doesn’t serve any useful purpose.

    I don’t think that’s true. However, they now have the consequence of their actions by supporting I-695.

    Unlike the west coast people in Washington, I don’t think the small counties are disappointed. I don’t think they want the services that were cut and I have no doubt they would eliminate a whole slew of other services if given a chance. They are basically libertarian and will likely vote to support the next Eyman intiative.

  22. 24

    RDC spews:

    Re Comment #20 by zip

    Your comment could be turned around to say that the argument you are pushing is not fair to anyone who thinks that the OVERALL level of taxation in this state is too low. And as to thumbing our nose at rural residents (I read this as those living east of the divide), my view is that rural residents have been thumbing their noses at those of us who would like to see adequate funding for all of our public needs, for years, by voting for every tax-cutting initiative that managed to make it to the ballot. East-West warfare isn’t the answer, but neither is lying down and playing dead. My view, previously expressed, is that a very sizable portion of those we are speaking of are hostile to almost any notion of the public good, if it requires taxation. I’m not in favor of trying to “punish” them by overt action, but I am in favor of circumventing them if at all possible. If that is saying “nyah, nyah we told you so”, so be it.

  23. 25

    zip spews:

    Statements like the Stranger’s “How’s that for traditional values? Greed and selfishness” and “I hope Mansfield’s leaky sewage lagoon is somewhere near Sima’s home” don’t help anybody to “engage in an honest public debate over the proper size and scope of government” as Goldy wishes.

    The people in these small towns are getting screwed for only one reason: they’re not in one of the privileged groups of the democratic leadership of this state.

  24. 26

    reggie spews:

    someone should look at the voting records again….

    to pass i695 an i747 eyman needed bipartisan support. Let’s not forget that i-695 was overturned in court but Former Gov. Locke was nice enough to ask the state houses to pass this law into effect. you can’t blame eyman for i-695 it never went into effect.

    The Democrats don’t want to do the right thing with taxes either. So, don’t put all the blame on the republicans All you have to do is point to the race between Ron Sims and miss chrissy. Ron told the truth about what this state needs as far as taxes go and chrissy basically took the republican stance of “no new taxes”. Because of his honesty he got his ass kicked in the primary.

  25. 27

    Richard Pope spews:

    The motor vehicle excise tax simply was not a fair tax. 2.2% of value each and every year is a high percentage to be paying. In fact, in the Sound Transit area, it was at least 2.5% per year. And it was calculated on an inflated value to boot, using a depreciation schedule that had vehicle values going down a hell of lot slower than they do in real life. So no wonder that people wanted to get rid of it.

    And it was a relatively regressive tax as well. Poor people tend to have a higher car value in relation to their income than rich people do, so they were paying a higher percentage of their income in this tax. Also, older cars were overvalued, making the poor people who own them pay an even higher relative percentage in this tax.

    Not only is the sales tax regressive, but its revenues are also distributed unfairly. Probably Mansfield doesn’t have too many stores. If someone wants to make a major purchase, they probably end up going to the mall in Wenatchee. Mansfield probably doesn’t even have a supermarket. So not only do the people in Mansfield probably spend less money on sales tax purchases (since they have lower income than the state average), but they make a lot of these purchases in cities like Wenatchee (or even further away).

  26. 28

    Richard Pope spews:

    The motor vehicle excise tax simply was not a fair tax. 2.2% of value each and every year is a high percentage to be paying. In fact, in the Sound Transit area, it was at least 2.5% per year. And it was calculated on an inflated value to boot, using a depreciation schedule that had vehicle values going down a hell of lot slower than they do in real life. So no wonder that people wanted to get rid of it.

    And it was a relatively regressive tax as well. Poor people tend to have a higher car value in relation to their income than rich people do, so they were paying a higher percentage of their income in this tax. Also, older cars were overvalued, making the poor people who own them pay an even higher relative percentage in this tax.

    Not only is the sales tax regressive, but its revenues are also distributed unfairly. Probably Mansfield doesn’t have too many stores. If someone wants to make a major purchase, they probably end up going to the mall in Wenatchee. Mansfield probably doesn’t even have a supermarket. So not only do the people in Mansfield probably spend less money on sales tax purchases (since they have lower income than the state average), but they make a lot of these purchases in cities like Wenatchee (or even further away).

  27. 29

    Chuck spews:

    I think this is the message from the precinct map the last time an income tax was on the ballot. In Seattle, its strongest support came from the wealthiest neighborhoods and its weakest support from the poorest. People voted contrary to self-interest, because people in wealthy neighborhoods get better service and thus have more faith in government, whereas people in poorer neighborhoods do not.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Your suggestion is fantasy, poor neighborhoods get more welfare, police monitoring, wic programs, planned parentthood ect. The rich ones get to hire security patrols on their own dime.

  28. 30

    Chuck spews:

    Chuck, that is the debate over the proper size and scope of government that I would love to have… because I’m confident the majority of voters agree more with me than with you when it comes to cutting particular programs and services.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I guess if you think that swimming pools are essential as well as mayors in towns of 400 shouldnt be sweeping up after themselves you are right.

  29. 31

    Chuck spews:

    There was talk a while ago about requiring initiatives that cut taxes to identify the program cuts to go with it, and requiring intiatives that mandated new spending to identify the new revenue source as well>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    Ill go for that…if once passed the initiative cannot be taken to court by the program or anyone else…

  30. 32

    RDC spews:

    One last comment before returning to the Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.

    Jim King makes a very good point (Comment#16). Unless things have changed in the past 15 years, the unemployment insurance program in this state is badly in need of revamping. I know my experience is now quite dated, but assuming not much has changed since 1990, I found dealing with the program maddening. Few people nowadays would say that a person layed-off through no fault of his own should be denied unemployment benefits, but in Washington almost anyone who quit or even those fired for cause (or so it seemed to me) was granted benefits. Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with the state L&I program much, but worker’s compensation programs in many of the states share the same problem. They are tempting targets for the less-than-honest among us, and require constant attention and diligent effort to work well. Jim’s point, that these are major irritants to small business people, and predispose them to be cantankerous when it comes to taxes, is well taken. Democratic leaders and labor leaders should pay attention to these complaints. That said, I’m not convinced that small business people, as a group, would have a different attitude towards taxes even if these programs were exceptionally well run. That, though, is no excuse for not trying to fix the problems.

  31. 33

    Chuck spews:

    “According to our Christian ethics, we’re supposed to love God, love each other and help take care of the poor,”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Lord helps them that help themselves…

  32. 34

    TJB spews:

    Richard –

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    The tax was outrageous and simply not fair. The state got greedy and asked for too much.

    As soon as the voters got a chance to do some thing about it they did so without hesitation.

    I for one didn’t look foward to getting ripped off once a year simply for owning a car.

  33. 35

    Chuck spews:

    My question to you is, what are the two or three non-essential programs you would eliminate?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    Eliminate is not a word I would care to employ that often. I would give public transportation projects that are now funded by taxpayers 5 years of graduated reduction in money until on the 5th year they would be self supporting. Additionally I would require additional public transportation undertakings depending on initial cost either 7 years or 12 years to be solvent (with the 7 year 2 years free and 5 graduated, with 12 7 years free and 5 yes you guessed it)

  34. 36

    RDC spews:

    re Comment #34

    Chuck…so I guess you probably would also favor turning our highways into toll roads?

  35. 37

    Peter spews:

    ZIP – Seattle has two bad bridge problems – 520 and the infamous viaduct.

    All money collected in Seattle and King Co stays here until those bonds are paid off.

    Douglas county needs money, put it on the ballot, tax themselves. This is silly. Each county needs to deal with raising and allocating its taxes.

    Seattle has been too generous in the past. And taken advantage of by the cunning farmers in the east.

    They have taken money from my pocket too many years. Take some from their own. Scaleback, oh well.

  36. 38

    Peter spews:

    FYI – to those who think Rs-Libs. will make sense talking taxes- they don’t. Won’t. Wasting your time.

    Value politics. Screw the world. it is my money. Taxes are theft…..on and on…..

    The one place you can finally get to them is rural elecrification. Left to the market forces, farmers would still have kerosene lanterns.

    Even then, some get that look, and decide to ignore that discussion becuse it does not fit nicely into their theology of politics and taxation. True believers.

  37. 39

    Jon spews:

    Lord helps them that help themselves…

    Comment by Chuck— 1/21/05 @ 10:51 pm

    _____________________________________________________

    Hey Chuck, where is that in the Bible?

  38. 40

    Goldy spews:

    Most of you are missing the point. You are looking at today’s budget, and I’m looking fifteen years into the future. Our tax system has a structural deficit that current trends will only make worse, year after year.

    You know, it really disappoints me that so many of you are willing to pick apart specific phrases in hopes of gaining a rhetorical advantage while ignoring the main thesis, which is, essentially…. we’re fucked.

  39. 42

    Chuck spews:

    ZIP – Seattle has two bad bridge problems – 520 and the infamous viaduct.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Suppose they should have considered that before the totaly ignorant monorail….

  40. 43

    Chuck spews:

    Goldy…possibly it is time to give the taxpayers a shot at the problems…your representatives arent getting it done…..

  41. 45

    Peter spews:

    Chuck – So if you don’t live in Seattle – what is your beef with a project certified by voters? Do we need approval to tax and spend our own revenue from somewhere else? The rubes/other county voters? I could care less if you want to build something where you live…..and pay for it with your taxes…..called democracy.

    You have a BIG opinion on everything ….. Whatever the future of transportation, make no mistake, voters have approved the monorail, several times. Old, old news.

    Given a chance, you would not approved the Space Needle either. Or the 200 millions voted to spend on libraries. (the biggest library bond in US history)…..too progressive for the rural counties….God, buy books? Build new buildings? What for?

    Getting tired of all the Seattle swipes….from people with the social programs ideas of rocks.

  42. 46

    Bax spews:

    Chuck — every single public transit system in this state is funded by taxes approved by the voters. In your posts, you infer that elected officials aren’t spending money the way the voters want them to. Now you want to de-fund systems that the voters specifically approved.

    Apparently the issue for you isn’t that politicians aren’t listening to the voters, it’s that they’re not listening to you.

  43. 47

    zip spews:

    I just don’t know how productive it is to tell them to tax themselves more so they can have services they don’t want.
    Comment by Erik— 1/21/05 @ 9:13 pm
    They have taken money from my pocket too many years. Take some from their own.
    Comment by Peter— 1/21/05 @ 11:29 pm
    Erik and Peter, the only reason a state government exists is to look out for the common welfare of the state as a whole. Which at one time (when they were first enacted and then renewed biennium after biennium) included the equalization money. Whether the equalization money is a necessary part of the state common good today is up to Olympia. What I am saying is that the equalization money could potentially be partially restored if the legislature had any reason to want to do so. In the no new taxes mode, they could take money from some other program to fund it. In the status quo mode, it will not get done unless overall taxes are raised. That is where we have a leadership problem.

  44. 48

    DCF spews:

    Now let me give you a tour of my western Washington rural community. Things may work differently in eastern Washington, but the small town near where I live does not own fire trucks–the Fire District owns the fire trucks, and the aid cars, and runs the district completely with volunteers. We have two fire halls, one in town and one about five miles out of town. There are fire hydrants in town and a big tank of water at the rural station. My small town was incorporated in 1906 and has had a static population of about 650 ever since. If our town un-incorporated, we would not lose the fire hall in town–but Timmy has affected our fire district, because it too is restrained by the his property tax reducing initiatives. People living in town have city water, and the city charges citizens in the city limits for the water they use–this income maintains the city’s well, and water delivery system. If the city went out of business a water district would have to be created. The city maintains the streets in town, but only minimally–there are not curbs and sidewalks everywhere, and at times there are lots of potholes. The main street is a state highway, so the maintenance of it is the state’s problem. If the city went out of existence the county would have to assume maintenance of the other roads (not streets) that intersect the state highway. The city provides a building for our library and pays the utilities required to keep the library lit, warm, and cool. The library costs are paid for by Timberland, a library district (also affected by Timmy’s initiatives)–so if the city went under we would probably still have a library. We have no hospital, but it really isn’t that far to go in a fire district aid car to Centralia, or Olympia for hospitalization. The cemetery is maintained by the city–they are able to cover most of the cost from the money they charge for opening and closing grave sites. If the city went out of existence, there would have to be a cemetery district created to take care of the cemetery, because our state has us over a barrel in that department–it is state law that a body can not be buried on private property–bodies must be buried in a cemetery. The town does have a police department, which could not survive if it weren’t for the money the local tribe pays the city to help with law enforcement. The tribe has a casino just over the Thurston County line–tribes agree to help with the additional pressure on local services crated by the location of their casinos. If the city went bust the county would have to send the sheriff’s department to handle law enforcement, and that could take up to thirty minutes.

    It would probably be better for my local town to un-incorporate, and it certainly wouldn’t be the end of it, in fact it probably wouldn’t curb its growth at all (and it is starting to grow–all those folks in Oly want to live in a rural area). Just to the east is the largest un-incorporated entity I’ve seen in my 61 years, Rochester/Grand Mound. Rochester/Grand Mound has a school system as big as Centralia’s–has a sewer/water district, fire district, and I assume a cemetery district, as they have a cemetery. They have had so much crime that they persuaded Thurston County to put a district office in Rochester.

    So you see someone will have to pay for services even if my little town no longer exists.

    I do have a gun and I do investigate strange bumps in the night, I dispatch all those unwanted critters that do damage to my animals–but at times I do need a law enforcement officer–and since I live in un-incorporated territory, that’s at least thirty minutes away.

  45. 49

    Bob spews:

    I will say it once more. Change is a fact of life that we had all better learn to accept and deal with.

    I have driven through a lot of “ghost towns” in the Western US. In doing research on the “roots” of my family tree, I have found a town in Germany where they came from in the 1700’s that was its own town until around 1970, when it was forced to economically combine with two other neighboring villages to remain vital. I am sure that after over 300 years of history that was hard for them to accept, but now the community seems happy.

    Regarding the sorrows of the Douglas County small town of Mansfield, population 325, it should not be a poster child for the anti-Eyman initiative retoric.

    Instead of debating sales tax redistribution policy, the question for Mansfield should be why does a community of 325 people need to have a city? Why not unicorporate and go back to being an unicorporated community and part of the local County government structure? (P.S. I live in unicorporated Snohomish County and don’t have a city police department, city library, city building inspector, city fire department, and seem to survive just fine, thank you)

    There needs to be a bit of a Darwinian approach to life that is not present in a lot of debates and is glossed over as “compasion.” Compasion is fine, don’t get me wrong. But we cannot always hold back the tide of change. A City of 325 people should not be an incorporated City and the “city services” provided should not be judged, by comparing them to the level of services provided by economically healthy and viable large cities.

  46. 50

    Chuck spews:

    I thought the golden rule was “do unto others…”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You are right I was merely screwing around….

  47. 51

    Chuck spews:

    You have a BIG opinion on everything ….. Whatever the future of transportation, make no mistake, voters have approved the monorail, several times. Old, old news.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You are correct, the voters have approved the space needle not once but twice, so they should pay for it. I have no problem with the monorail, I just think it was a stupid idea to vote in, the money could have been put to better use if moving people was the goal…

  48. 52

    Chuck spews:

    Now you want to de-fund systems that the voters specifically approved.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Which voter approved system do I want to de-fund?

  49. 53

    Chuck spews:

    Chuck – every single public transit system in this state is funded by taxes approved by the voters.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    You are wrong Bax, aside from the monorail and the RTA, no public transit system was approved by the voter, as a matter of fact, pierce county transit specifically takes the voter to court when the voter decides to cut funding…

  50. 54

    Chuck spews:

    And besides that, when you see a beggar on the street and vote yourself over to give him $5.00, does that mean the guy is entitled to $5.00 from you every day for the rest of his life? No at some point you hope the guy will pick up and do for himself, the same as some of these taxpayer funded operations. Take the money…even call it a grant, but if the project cannot garnish enough interest to fly alone in 7-12 years depending on initial cost, then it isnt a needed facility. Whether swimming pool, sports arena, space needle or bus.

  51. 55

    Chuck spews:

    In your posts, you infer that elected officials aren’t spending money the way the voters want them to. Now you want to de-fund systems that the voters specifically approved.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I assume you are refering to the Monorail, the voters approved an extention to it, at some point after this it should either become solvent (in graduation) or go before the voters every couple of years for continued funding…my esteemed opinion.

  52. 56

    Goldy spews:

    And why is that Chuck? Last time I saw, our roads weren’t paying for themselves… so should we ask voters every couple of years whether we should continue building and maintaining roads?

  53. 57

    Chuck spews:

    Our roads certainly do pay for themselves Goldy, through fuel tax, that is the price of the a ticket for driving down the road, much as a bus has a fare, and a swimming pool has a fee, the gasoline has a fee that efficiently used is more than enough to build or repair roads…

  54. 58

    Chuck spews:

    See if you are racing, flying or farming this gasoline tax doesnt apply to you because you arent on the public road.

  55. 59

    Goldy spews:

    No Chuck… the gas tax is a tax, not a user fee. A toll is a user fee. Surely you are not suggesting that 100% of our tax on alcohol should be spent on treatment and prevent (or maintaining the our booze infrastructure)?

    We have an integrated transportation system, and our buses, rail, ferries etc help keep cars off the roads, thus reducing demand for now road infrastructure.

  56. 60

    Peter spews:

    Out of all this chatter – the use of tolls on expressways and bridges is a good idea.

    They work. Thye work very well.

    In this state, bridges have been paid off many years early as in: Vernita Bridege over Yakima river and 1st Lake W. floating bridge……other as well.

    More toll projects in transporttion are a good idea – what with tight money to build and all.

  57. 61

    RDC spews:

    Chuck…the roads do not pay for themselves. Your gasoline tax does not cover the costs you place on others when you drive (or I place when I drive). These costs include pollution, destroyed or damaged environment, depleted natural resources, lost time and lost lives via accidents, etcetera, ad infinitum. People who use public transportation may even be saving you money. That should please you.

  58. 62

    John spews:

    Gee sounds kinda fishy to me, 76% of a counties revenues were from car tabs and property taxes. Where are all the billions of dollars in other misc. and hidden taxes going? Does anybody have any idea how much a person pays in hidden and visible taxes on a home purchase? When we pump gas, B@O, ect., ect., ect. Yes there is interdepencies in this state, similar to drug dependency. This state is so inefficient it’s really sad!

  59. 63

    RDC spews:

    Re Comment #62 by John

    You may be right or you may be wrong. Do you have any specific evidence of how the “state is so inefficient it’s really sad”? Perhaps you should ask your representative or state senator for a breakdown of the last budget, to see where the money comes from, and how it is spent. You may be quite knowledgable, but your comment reads like you just have a hunch that there is a lot of money coming in, and a semi-paranoid sense that someone, somewhere, somehow is wasting a lot of it.

  60. 64

    bby spews:

    John – Where are they going????? Taxes, I mean…. What a fucking mystery.

    FIRST – 53 per cent of all state revenue goes off the top to education. Start there, tax reality. I assume you, like 99 per cent of us, went to public schools. All the schools, all the teachers, the busses, the books, the toilet paper. PAID FROM TAXES.

    Of course you don’t see any thing in your community funded by tax dollars.

    MANY MORE –Thousand of miles of roads, hospitals, foster care of abused kids, medical benefits for the elderly, prisons and jails, state patrol, mental hospitals, consumer protections, THE LIST IS ENDLESS. Look around.

  61. 65

    Chuck spews:

    No Chuck… the gas tax is a tax, not a user fee>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    If it is a tax, then why isnt farm fuel taxed? Or AV (aviation fuel) gas, or even racing fuel? No play word games all you want it is taxed as a USER FEE. If you dont use the state roads, you dont have to pay it. As a matter of fact if your vehicle is propane, natural gas, or electric, you have to pay a special fee on your registration because those items have no fuel tax and the fee is to maintain the roads…I can only assume that all other alternative fueled vehicles are treated the same.

  62. 66

    Chuck spews:

    Chuck…the roads do not pay for themselves. Your gasoline tax does not cover the costs you place on others when you drive (or I place when I drive). These costs include pollution, destroyed or damaged environment, depleted natural resources, lost time and lost lives via accidents, etcetera, ad infinitum.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Well no Goldy I never implied money would make things right with God, mother nature, my fellow Americans or the starving kids in Ethiopia, what I said is the user fee/tax on gas/diesel should more than cover the costs of building and maintaining roads and bridges in this state. One of the largest obstacles to this is “prevailing wage” laws, it kills the financing of these projects. The state should when bidding a project, concern themselves with only the contractor with the lowest bids ability to take on the job, as long as he is within the legal boundaries (minimum wage ect) his financial arrangements with his employees are none of the states buisiness.

  63. 68

    RDC spews:

    Chuck…you are an idiot if you believe that the taxes you pay when you buy gasoline pays for the entire cost incurred when you drive your car. God, you are maddingly dense sometimes (but, I have to admit, never as maddingly dense or tedious as was Cynical, who seems, thank whatever gods may be, to have disappeared).

  64. 69

    Chuck spews:

    Well I dont think I am an idiot, the idiot apparantly cannot read the english that I attempt to write. I said nothing of the entire cost. But there are more taxes to cover the additional costs you refer to. One is the sheer taxes placed on purchasing the vehicle, another is exise tax on the rubber products on the vehicle, amongst many others. The automobile is the most taxed thing in our society besides ciggarettes and possibly alcohol. There is no shortage on tax placed on the automobile and its supporting supplies.

  65. 70

    Chuck spews:

    By the way, the taxes on purchasing the vehicle are charged EVERY time said vehicle is sold…

  66. 71

    Chuck spews:

    Sure, Chuck, scab labor.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I assume that comment was ment as versus union labor, well unions have their purpose BUT the average person in this state works non union jobs and it is unfair to them to make them pay union based wages with the taxes they pay to build and maintain public roads and projects.

  67. 72

    G Davis spews:

    LOL…the never ending conversation about taxation.

    Rural folks have never liked taxes and have never seen the need for services because they don’t avail themselves of same.

    City folks have always understood the concept of shared living since they live that way.

    The two shall never see eye to eye.

    Peter raises a good point in a post way back up there somewhere:

    “Value politics. Screw the world. it is my money. Taxes are theft…..on and on…..

    The one place you can finally get to them is rural elecrification. Left to the market forces, farmers would still have kerosene lanterns.”

    This is one state…there are common costs that need to be shared proportionally. Electricity is one of those shared costs. Roads another. Education another.

    The rural communities gladly accept price control subsidies from both the Feds and the state. They gladly accept the electricity and roads the Feds and state pay for. The State Patrol or County Sheriff…who pays them? But like all good pioneering anarchists, they don’t trust government and certainly don’t want to pay the government to oversee their most basic services.

    If that’s the route to be taken, then sure…you get the tax money on your share of the gross state product…spend it as you will as long as the kids are tended and educated, the roads sound and the bad guys jailed.

    Silly…

    State income tax? Not without a seriously high floor.

    The sales tax as it’s structured should be plenty of money and is semi fair as long as food isn’t taxed.

    Get rid of L&I and insure the workers under a group policy.

    B&O is reasonable. Business owners have wonderful tax advantages across the board. It just hurts more cause we’re writing periodic big ol’ checks instead of the *I have it taken out of my pay so I never know it’s there* crowd.

    Government needs to streamline. We need to pay our taxes. It’s how it works.

  68. 73

    Chuck spews:

    LOL…the never ending conversation about taxation.

    Rural folks have never liked taxes and have never seen the need for services because they don’t avail themselves of same.

    City folks have always understood the concept of shared living since they live that way.

    The two shall never see eye to eye.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    This is the actual cause of the civil war, the north had the industrial base as well as lots of money, however they couldnt feed themselves without the agricultural base of the south…

  69. 74

    RDC spews:

    Chuck. Apologies for the “idiot” remark (my Comment #68). It was meant rhetorically. A person can certainly be very mistaken about a subject without being an idiot. However, as to reading your English (your Comment #69), check out your Comment #1, in which you stated that what is needed is “a serious start of eliminating non-essential programs”, but when I called you on it
    (my Comment #5), in your response (Comment 35) you say that eliminate is not a word you would care to employ, etc. Well, if you wouldn’t care to employ it, why did you employ it? (The question is rhetorical).

  70. 75

    G Davis spews:

    Chuck…I wonder what the Ohio basin thinks of your theory?

    Silly.

    The glue that holds this country together is it’s differences. It’s give and take.

    When that gets out of whack, we’re where we are now. Divided. Completely.

    We’re a resilient lot though. We’ve been through worse and will survive this division as well. Simply because in our hearts we care about all our citizens and won’t continue with this recent myopic egocentric sentiment.

  71. 76

    Chuck spews:

    The problem lies somewhere between reality and Chucks version of things. My idea for such non essential programs as swimming pools or transit is instead of just cold turkey dropping financing is to gradually remove funding thru a 5 year program and on the 5th year if it cannot be solvent then either bankrupt it for lack of interest or sell it off to private interests who may be able to run it better. If a new program were to start depending on costs on lower cost things like a swimming pool 7 year plan where 2 years as startup and the 5 year gradual solvency plan. On spendy projects such as transit plans, a 12 year plan, 7 years startup and 5 year gradual solvency plan. Now this is my idea alone, but the reality is the liberals would fight tooth and nail over such an idea so the only real way of doing it is like I-695…scrap the whole deal. Liberals are great at all or nothing deals then they whine about the lack of funding after the taxpayer has had enough and vote for outright cuts.

  72. 77

    Chuck spews:

    Chuck…I wonder what the Ohio basin thinks of your theory?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Ohio basin??????????????????????????

  73. 78

    Chuck spews:

    B&O is reasonable. Business owners have wonderful tax advantages across the board. It just hurts more cause we’re writing periodic big ol’ checks instead of the *I have it taken out of my pay so I never know it’s there* crowd.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    B&O tax is one of the things that are killing buisiness in the state. If you think otherwise go buy a rack and pinion for your car. it will likely have to come out of the Portland Oregon warehouse. Get it? The parts store cannot afford to stock it because of inventory tax, and that is only part of the B&O tax….

  74. 79

    G Davis spews:

    LOL…Valley, Basin what’s the difference? ;0

    I pay B & O…I also write off a considerable number of things my neighbors can’t. It all evens out in the end as it should.

    L&I needs serious reform or doing away with. Cover the workers under the state employees health care/disability plan. It’s in place, has outside management.

    You don’t like transit systems? Too bad. Our air and ground water could use more folks open to the idea of ride sharing. but that comes from a rural folk who is a serious steward of the land as without it we all go.

    So you must drive a car/truck…object to those fuel taxes too, don’t you?

    Let’s see…no business taxes, no transit taxes, no fuel taxes…who would you tax?

    And where would the money go?

  75. 80

    G Davis spews:

    BTW…I agree with you on the swimming pools…voted against every levy for one where I live.

  76. 81

    David spews:

    Back in post #20, zip said, “even though 695 cut the one tax that funded the equalization payments to the small towns, the other taxes coming into the state still provided enough revenue to provide equalization money to those towns from other sources.

    What a wonderful illustration of the “cut my taxes, but don’t touch my services” attitude. Slash government, but keep supporting me…cut someone else. That’s Tim Eyman’s genius—he’s no politician, he’s a salesman. And it’s easy to sell people on “pay less taxes!” But then it’s time to duck and run. When Eyman publicly debated Phil Talmadge over one of his initiatives a couple of years ago (post -695), he was asked several times to suggest where to cut the money. He ducked the question (artlessly, saying “it’s not my job”) every time, and the crowd was soon roundly booing him.

    Now, I think equalization payments are fundamentally fair. I’d love to see them re-enacted. But I don’t see anybody suggesting concrete cuts in state services in order to pay for them (except for Chuck’s suggestion that we eliminate subsidized public transit).

  77. 82

    Chuck spews:

    You don’t like transit systems? Too bad. Our air and ground water could use more folks open to the idea of ride sharing. but that comes from a rural folk who is a serious steward of the land as without it we all go.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Ah but you misjudge me, I dont at all mind transit systems and dont mind giving them a little kickoff towards having a solvent self supporting buisiness. But as with a swimming pool, we need a date where they will GRADUALLY be solvent and off of the taxpayers back. The bus rider paying his fare share isnt a bad idea…

  78. 83

    Chuck spews:

    except for Chuck’s suggestion that we eliminate subsidized public transit>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I fail to see the problem with a man (woman) paying for their own ride.

  79. 84

    Chuck spews:

    Another one is the Port of Tacoma…a 5 year gradual inching it off of the Pierce County property tax bill.

  80. 85

    David spews:

    In post #27, Chuck took issue with Goldy’s observation that “people in wealthy neighborhoods get better service and thus have more faith in government, whereas people in poorer neighborhoods do not.” Chuck offers that “poor neighborhoods get more welfare, police monitoring, wic programs, planned parentthood ect.”

    Chuck, I think you’re flat out wrong on the facts. Poor neighborhoods don’t get more or better service from government. If you think they do, you should think about moving to a poor neighborhood (bonus: the houses are cheaper, too). When you do, you’ll find that there aren’t as many police stations around (and the police are overworked and more likely to be brusque and suspicious of you than friendly and helpful to you), that the streets aren’t kept as clean, that the parks are run-down (if there are parks at all), that the schools are overcrowded and badly maintained.

    No, Chuck, rich neighborhoods have it all over the poorer districts when it comes to government services. After all, the politicians know which side their bread is buttered on. If you live in a wealthy place, you are treated much better by government, and you probably have a better attitude toward it.

    Oh, and Planned Parenthood isn’t a government service.

  81. 86

    Chuck spews:

    Oh, and Planned Parenthood isn’t a government service.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Call it what you will, your taxes go to fund it.

  82. 87

    zip spews:

    What a wonderful illustration of the “cut my taxes, but don’t touch my services” attitude. Slash government, but keep supporting me…cut someone else.

    Comment by David— 1/23/05 @ 12:31 am

    David, you are off base. The point is that the legislature has had several years to prioritize the funding across the state and chose not to. The equalization money is either a higher priority than something else in the budget or not, that’s their decision. FYI, I have no vested interest in whether equalization money is restored or not. I do though think that it is appropriate. And I believe that the only reason it has not been restored is because the small towns that depend on it have no clout with the Democratic party. As opposed to the public employee unions.

  83. 88

    Chuck spews:

    No, Chuck, rich neighborhoods have it all over the poorer districts when it comes to government services. After all, the politicians know which side their bread is buttered on. If you live in a wealthy place, you are treated much better by government, and you probably have a better attitude toward it.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Most rich neighborhoods have a security force that contacts the police, hence the police come out and pick up the “suspect”, kind of like a courtesy call. The security force is private paid for by the people of the rich neighborhood. If the poor neighborhoods hired the security force they could get the same courtesy call.

  84. 89

    David spews:

    TJB remembers hating the MVET: “I for one didn’t look foward to getting ripped off once a year simply for owning a car.” Later on, G Davis notes similar sentiments about the B&O tax: “It just hurts more cause we’re writing periodic big ol’ checks instead of the *I have it taken out of my pay so I never know it’s there* crowd.

    Putting aside both the MVET and the B&O tax for the moment, this is one of those psychology questions I don’t know the answer to: is the average person more likely to resent a state sales tax (see it every time you buy something, but accumulating in little chunks) or a state income tax (only once a year, but a hefty bill)?

    On strictly economic grounds, I actually favor a consumption tax (sales tax or VAT), with measures to counteract their regressive nature (e.g. demigrants or tax rebates to all state citizens). As someone noted above, consumption tax receipts tend to be more stable year-over-year than income tax receipts (because even when income fluctuates, people spend based on their expected income over time). It also eliminates the problem of people trying to hide or shield income from taxation; although sales taxes have their weaknesses too, like unreported cash sales.

    Anyway, I’m just curious about people’s emotional reactions to paying sales taxes and income taxes.

  85. 90

    Chuck spews:

    While we are on the subject, the only way you are going to get real police action is to 1. kill someone, or 2. commit an offence that will bring in money to the government (traffic ticket, seatbelts ect). If it is theft they sit on the phone and tell you there is nothing they can do but they will charge you $15.00 for a report for your insurance company.

  86. 91

    Chuck spews:

    Personally I would like to settle up once a year so I would know how much it is costing me, I mean the whole smear, income tax and the only tax…dont like the nickel and dime effect. As far as I am concerned the nickel and dime thing makes fools out of us because we dont really know how much we pay in taxes. I think it is our responsability to know.

  87. 92

    David spews:

    Chuck, even if “Most rich neighborhoods have a [private] security force” (which I’d dispute—unless you’re just talking about gated communities), it doesn’t change the fact that wealthy neighborhoods get more, better government services, including police. It’s especially the case when you focus on government services that are tied to the neighborhood (like schools, parks, snowplowing) rather than to the individual (like unemployment, social security, medicare).

  88. 94

    zip spews:

    Comment by David— 1/23/05 @ 1:08 am

    I believe that our position as one of the few states without an income tax is a competitive advantage in recruiting skilled employees from out of state. Especially along the west coast. Our businesses need every competitive edge they can get. I am hopeful that our tax system can be reformed without imposing an income tax. Maybe a VAT can be made to work, although I don’t hear of anybody in Olympia pushing it.

    That said, one aspect of the sales tax has always bothered me. When a government agency pays for construction of public works, sales tax is paid. As transportation projects are funded, close to 9 percent of the total will actually go to general funds because it will be sales tax. $4 billion for the viaduct would include about $300 million or so to the general funds of the State and county.

  89. 95

    David spews:

    zip, I know that “the legislature has had several years to prioritize the funding across the state.” The attitude I’m pointing out is the griping about having equalization payments (or any other spending) cut, followed by the cop-out of “that’s their decision” when it comes to suggesting what’s less important and should be taken out of the budget.

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fans will recognize this quandary’s similarity to an SEP (“Somebody Else’s Problem”) field.

  90. 96

    David spews:

    I agree, zip, it doesn’t make much sense for the government to collect sales tax revenue when it spends…sales tax revenue. If it’s the state spending the money, it’s a wash, economically. However, if it’s a local or federal project then (from the state’s perspective) that’s the same as anyone else buying goods, so it’s consistent to charge sales tax there.

  91. 97

    zip spews:

    David, what I am saying is that the 695 vote rescinded a specific tax that the majority felt was unfairly applied and caused their total tax burden to be excessive. The voters shouldn’t be expected to determine where to adjust the resultant budget. Adjusting the spending priorities of the state to match the available revenue is most definitely the legislature’s responsibility. I personally have a clue only about those parts of the government that I interact with. This is probably the case for almost everybody except for the specialists among us.

    I’ve read a lot of griping about the unfair burden imposed on the enlightened west side taxpayer to support their poor stepchildren on the other side. That is the griping that we all should object to the most. It’s a crappy attitude for so-called “progressives” to take.

  92. 98

    zip spews:

    Comment by David— 1/23/05 @ 1:25 am
    David, what I am saying is that the 695 vote rescinded a specific tax that the majority felt was unfairly applied and caused their total tax burden to be excessive. The voters shouldn’t be expected to determine where to adjust the resultant budget. Adjusting the spending priorities of the state to match the available revenue is most definitely the legislature’s responsibility. I personally have a clue only about those parts of the government that I interact with. This is probably the case for almost everybody except for the specialists among us.

    I’ve read a lot of griping about the unfair burden imposed on the enlightened west side taxpayer to support their poor stepchildren on the other side. That is the griping that we all should object to the most. It’s a poor attitude for so-called “progressives” to take.

  93. 99

    David spews:

    I say: “Planned Parenthood isn’t a government service.”
    Chuck says: “Call it what you will, your taxes go to fund it.”

    By that reasoning, farmers are a government service. And private universities are a government service. And religious institutions are a government service — because they all receive grants, too.

    When we say that affluent neighborhoods get better government services and in turn exhibit a more positive attitude toward government, we mean government itself.

  94. 100

    zip spews:

    the cop-out of “that’s their decision”

    David, it is the Legislature’s decision. The Legislature has the responsibility to balance spending priorities against available funds.

    Every voter that passed 695 had a different program he would suggest cutting. The fact is most people can only intelligently comment on the parts of state spending that they interact with. But they all interact with taxes so they all have a comment or reaction to them. Democracy is messy with the initiatives thrown in but our elected representatives have to deal with it.

    The fact that they did not deal with it in a manner that was fair to the small towns is a legitimate gripe. The gripers that bring up the flow of tax money from west to east are the ones using a cop out.

  95. 101

    David spews:

    Re: subsidized public transit, Chuck says, “I fail to see the problem with a man (woman) paying for their own ride.

    Chuck, we (the people, through the government) subsidize public transit because we want people to take public transit. Take away the subsidy, and you’ll run into a couple of problems:

    1) Lots more people will decide it’s just as cheap and more convenient to drive their own car instead of riding the bus/train/whatever. Hello, clogged freeways and streets. Hello, accidents. Hello, smog. Goodbye, parking.

    2) Lots of people who can’t drive—the elderly, disabled, kids, anyone without a license, anyone who can’t afford a car—will have to cut down on necessary travel if they can’t afford the steeply increased fares. More folks than you’d expect will lose their jobs. Hello, poverty. Goodbye, compassion. Make grandma walk. And of course we don’t want to encourage tourists and shoppers to visit our shopping districts on foot.

    In economic terms, public transportation is a ‘public good’—something that offers society benefits greater than its costs, but doesn’t necessarily make a profit. So is the highway system overall (and it is subsidized beyond gas taxes, vehicle license fees and road tolls—many state and local road improvements are funded through property or sales taxes, and economists find plenty of indirect subsidies [such as traffic policing and accident response costs, street lighting costs, ‘free’ parking, and future property taxes lost to expanded rights-of-way]).

    We could eliminate public transportation subsidies, but it would end up costing us more than we save. (If only we had a PRT system that could provide efficient public transportation *and* operate unsubsidized….)

  96. 102

    David spews:

    The Legislature has the responsibility to balance spending priorities against available funds.

    Yes, you are absolutely correct; and when it comes to lobbying the legislature, everybody argues for their program to have spending priority. No dispute about how the process works (and no dispute that the legislature has largely punted away that responsibility over the last few years, not showing much leadership).

    I’m just reacting to the incongruous demands of many right-wingers that government needs to be cut, but various and sundry items ought to be saved. What I’m asking is, what (in their opinion) needs to be cut? What isn’t a spending priority?

    If there isn’t a list of things that the state should stop spending money on, why should we keep trying to cut good programs and investments in our state instead of looking for a fair way to increase tax revenue in order to balance our books?

  97. 103

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    When we say that affluent neighborhoods get better government services

    Oh nonsense. We live in a private (ungated) lake community in UNincorporated Corrupt County and we’d die of boredom WAITING for police/fire/EMT to show up out here in an emergency. We are last on the list to have our roads fixed, our speeding , vandalism, mail theft and car break-ins taken seriously but first on the damned county environmental agencies list to monitor, regulate and exert control over our lakes, ditches and wetlands.

  98. 104

    Bax spews:

    >>We live in a private (ungated) lake community in UNincorporated Corrupt County and we’d die of boredom WAITING for police/fire/EMT to show up out here in an emergency.<<

    What county do you live in? What fire district?

  99. 105

    Bax spews:

    Not sure why that posted the way it did — what I said was, what county do you live in, and what fire district?

    Anybody know if there’s a tutorial on the web somewhere how you use all the features (italics, bold, etc) of the comments section?

  100. 106

    David spews:

    ProudASS, if you live in a wealthy neighborhood and a majority of residents are unhappy about the level of services in your unincorporated area, it would seem to be a slam dunk to incorporate a town and take charge of your own tax base to get the level of service you want. I guess I should amend the sentence you quoted to say that affluent neighborhoods that want better government services get better government services….

  101. 108

    DCF spews:

    G Davis–I don’t understand your comment below:

    “The rural communities gladly accept price control subsidies from both the Feds and the state. They gladly accept the electricity and roads the Feds and state pay for. The State Patrol or County Sheriff…who pays them? But like all good pioneering anarchists, they don’t trust government and certainly don’t want to pay the government to oversee their most basic services.”

    My Grays Harbor Public Utility District was formed 65 years ago, because in the 1920’s private utilities were reluctant to provide electricity of customers in rural areas–in 1928 Grange members collected the required signatures to present an initiative to the state legislature creating Public Utility Districts. The Legislature squashed the initiative due to the influence and power of private utilities, however, voters approved the statewide measure during the 1930 general election.

    On 15 January 1940, the Grays Harbor Public Utility District paid Grays Harbor Railway and Light $2,842.00 for the transfer of all property and assets of Grays Harbor Railway and Light to the PUD.

    Currently Grays Harbor PUD has partnerships in wind-farms in Eastern Washington, is experimenting with methane electricity generation, and buys electricity just like any other private electricity utility in the state.

    So please enlighten me about your statement concerning rural communities and electricity above.

    BTW I do believe that rural electricity grids allows you to purchase farm commodities at a cheaper price than if we used KEROSENE LANTERNS like the private utilities and Legislature wanted us to do!

  102. 109

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    We are in the process of being incorporated by the nearest small community… and whoop de do! THEY contract their services from no other than CORRUPT COUNTY. Corrupt county likes to take, take, take our high, high, high property taxes (close to $5000 in 05 for

  103. 110

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    oops lost half

    (close to $5000 in o5 for less than half an acre and more than double in the last 7 years) and land, then deigns to give us zip, zero, nada in return.

  104. 111

    David spews:

    If your neighborhood is annexed/incorporated into a small community and you have economic and/or political clout within it, you should have no trouble organizing services that aren’t contracted from the county.

  105. 113

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    If your neighborhood is annexed/incorporated into a small community and you have economic and/or political clout within it, you should have no trouble organizing services that aren’t contracted from the county. -Comment by David— 1/23/05 @ 10:17 am

    Righto! The community of about 20,000 adding the residents of 100 homes is going to be able to rush right out and “organize” it’s own police force, fire dept, dept of roads and God knows what else.

    The fact of the matter is Corrupt County is PAYING cities adjacent to unincorporated areas to annex us. Then the cities come in and say ‘well hey, it’s inevitable that we’re going to get you eventually but if you let us annex you NOW, we’ll pay (al la Corrupt County) for the annexation fees.

    Screwed if we do, screwed if we don’t.

    Especially screwed since WE have little/no say about WHICH city annexes us because Corrupt County makes it happen by favoring (read, paying) one city over another to do the annexing.

  106. 114

    Chuck spews:

    It’s especially the case when you focus on government services that are tied to the neighborhood (like schools, parks, snowplowing) rather than to the individual (like unemployment, social security, medicare).>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    A snowplow once or twice a tear doesnt compare to an area where mant people are on public assistance, living in subsidised housing, recieving food stamps, and on subsidised medical….AND their child goes to school, as well as the park….while we are here on this subject I guess we would have to qualify a rich neigborhood because many rich parents utilize private schools, hence freeing up even more money for poor schools…

  107. 115

    Chuck spews:

    The State Patrol or County Sheriff…who pays them? But like all good pioneering anarchists, they don’t trust government and certainly don’t want to pay the government to oversee their most basic services.”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I live in a rural community and have for 30 years, the peolpe out here that I know DONT want a sherriff or state patrolman out here constantly. Everyone out here has been taking care of their own for years out here. The problem is the “city” people that decide we need those things….more democratic policies, helping those that dont need helped.

  108. 117

    Bax spews:

    And Ass — the reason why I’m asking is because you sound like you live in an area in King County. If you are close to a city, I doubt very much that your statement is true about waiting forever for fire/ems/police to respond to your residence in case of emergency. Tell ya what — just tell me what fire district you live in, then we’ll see if what you’re saying is true.

  109. 118

    G Davis spews:

    DCF-Grays Harbor sounds wonderfully progressive in their quest for alternate energy…I wish more would follow their practices.

    That doesn’t get away from the basic premise that there are common cause services availed to all citizens of the state. Who provided the infastructure of your electric grid? Who maintains it? What sorts of funding is your PUD running on?

    I would suspect if your PUD were truly self funding from it’s inception, it would carry with it prohibitive costs to it’s users. I don’t know the intricacies of your PUD…perhaps you could fill us in on more details.

    The basic point is that the common cause basic systems for citizens need to be funded if we are to maintain any sort of level of equity for all our citizens. Use a pay as you go system as some seem to advocate, the individual costs would be outlandish, especially in the rural areas.

    Take a look at farms…are there not Fed subsidies for crop price controls? Are there not fuel tax subsidies? That money comes from somewhere, and to charge farmers individually would be prohibitive.

    Rural schools most certainly would never operate if they were only afforded the proportion of revenue their students families generate. Where does the rest of that money come from?

    The broader point here is what sort of citizenry are we? An I’ve got mine, go get your own? Or a willing partner in the forwarding of all our citizens regardless of personal income level?

  110. 119

    G Davis spews:

    “I live in a rural community and have for 30 years, the peolpe out here that I know DONT want a sherriff or state patrolman out here constantly. Everyone out here has been taking care of their own for years out here. The problem is the “city” people that decide we need those things….more democratic policies, helping those that dont need helped.”

    Ah Chuck…a true anarchist at heart. Gotta love it.

  111. 120

    chuck spews:

    Ah Chuck…a true anarchist at heart. Gotta love it.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Not an anarchist…not helpless either

  112. 121

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    S Corrupt County the weather folks refer to as the “foothills”.

    Nope about 55 min from the “city”.

  113. 123

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    And as far as waiting forever… we (our neighborhood) recently had occasion to catch some vandals in progress – our neighbors detained them and called Corrupt County Sheriff’s Dept.. They were told they could not get to our area for about 2 hours and that if the neighbors continues to detain the vandals, they, the neighbors, would be charged with holding someone against their will.

    Yep, gotta love Corrupt County services.

  114. 124

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    My point?
    113. If your neighborhood is annexed/incorporated into a small community and you have economic and/or political clout within it, you should have no trouble organizing services that aren’t contracted from the county. -Comment by David— 1/23/05 @ 10:17 am

  115. 126

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    113. Ass – again, what community do you live in? Just wondering. -Comment by Bax— 1/23/05 @ 11:19 am

  116. 128

    Chuck spews:

    My point is I am not an anarchist,but simply not helpless and there are a lot of us out here that dont need a policeman at their beck and call, as we dont need people in cities deciding what we need and what is good for us then patting themselves on the back for funding our programs…

  117. 129

    Community Member spews:

    Well what a great guy you must be Chuck, to be able to keep to yourself and just not need anything from anyone.

    Did you ever stop to consider that maybe it’s not so important what you need, but what is needed from you? Sure you may be quite content in your little slice of suburbia, that’s great. Now how you going to pay back the community which has gotten you to where you are?

  118. 130

    G Davis spews:

    So this has gone from responsible tax apportionment and levy to oblique resentment to big cities?

    I see.

  119. 131

    Chuck spews:

    Well what a great guy you must be Chuck, to be able to keep to yourself and just not need anything from anyone.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The consumate democrat you are, first you back the forcing of some unwanted services, then you decide to put words in peoples mouth…you libs amaze me! Of coarse we need education, of coarse we need our borders protected by a military, we need police, but we need to combine the forces for greater efficiency as well as more even coverage with the greatest concentration on crime and not revinue gathering (less radar work). We dont need adult seatbelt laws (no dont try I havent gotten one of those either). We even could really use puclic transformation that is self supporting. We built baseball and football stadiums on the peoples backs because of all the “jobs” that were created but if a company asks for concessions to build a factory or a Boeing tries to expand all they get is red tape and polititions insisting they didnt pay enough to put in a freeway ramp at “prevailing wage”. We need services but when a service can support itself we need to enlist that idea as well. Nothing wrong with tax dollars assisting a project we need starting up such as a swimming pool, but plan it to float itself as soon as possible…and dont put fucking words in my mouth.

  120. 132

    Chuck spews:

    So this has gone from responsible tax apportionment and levy to oblique resentment to big cities?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    No resentment, just resent words put in my mouth or people insinuating things that arent true.

  121. 133

    DCF spews:

    Proudass, all you need to do is start a property owner’s association and you’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit–I do share your frustration with the time it takes for law enforcement officers to reach your neighborhood! Here’s my property tax breakdown (a lot of you mortgage payers may never see yours) in dollars: state fire assessment-14.90; state levy-373.52; local schools-219.51; road-296.81, county-237.46; port-50.36; fire district-228.55; and library-61.96. Now it used to be that lots of folks in Grays Harbor County yelled loud and long because they didn’t want to pay taxes to the port, which in their view exported our state’s raw materials instead of keeping them here and creating jobs for our citizens. I would suggest that if our state prisons were as self-sufficient as possible we could save a hell of a lot of money. Our local school could save money by sharing administration with Rochester/Grand Mound–but then lots of students that live in our school district choose to attend school elsewhere, and the state allows the education funding to follow the student–so our school district loses every time this happens. Roads and fire districts can’t be cut in my opinion–because if a road gets in too bad shape the fire truck can be kept from driving over improperly maintained roads, then insurance rates would go up or insurance would be impossible to obtain–BTW the school bus can also refuse service along a poorly maintained road. My taxes are low because I qualify for open-space exemption, I wouldn’t be able to live in my house if I paid the full tax rate. However, if I sell my property I have to pay all back taxes with interest–if I die my kids are off the back taxes hook! So guess I’ll die and not sell.

    G Davis, in 1940 when our PUD came into existence its revenue for operation came from bond sales, electricity sales, and tax on electricity sales. Our PUD bought the infrastructure of our electricity grid from Grays Harbor Railway and Light for $2,842,000 in January 1940. Our PUD has maintained our electricity grid since that time. The PUD opened their doors on 16 Jan 1940 and cut electric rates by 20-30% (because PUD’s can not make a profit), hired 45 new employees, and increased workers salaries by 20%. Many of the early policies implemented by the PUD have become models for other public utilities across the state and nation. Currently I pay a state privilege tax of 2.14%, and a state public utility tax of 3.873% on my monthly power use. What burns my butt is that I, as a Washington state taxpayer, subsidize private electric utilities by allowing them to use BPA generated power in order to make a profit. I’m also enraged that the Federal government has allowed Enron to initially steal, and continue to steal, from the electric rate payers of Washington state. I also resent the fact that the aluminum companies are currently coming to my PUD, with hat in hand wanting us rate payers to give them a subsidy so they can have lower electricity rates! I say HELL NO!

  122. 134

    HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

    Proudass, all you need to do is start a property owner’s association and you’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit -Comment by DCF— 1/24/05 @ 12:37 pm

    Thanks – we ALREADY have an active Homeowners Association. It was the officers that were threatened with prosecution when they tried to hold the vandal we caught.

  123. 135

    G Davis spews:

    DcF-I’m impressed with your PUD. Or should I say jealous since I get to fork over my earnings each month to PSE who must have the highest rates in the nation for energy.

    How many people use this PUD? Why is it not being used as a model for other small/midsize communities? Or is it?

    I particularly like the job creation element. Hopefully they filled those jobs with some local folks.

  124. 136

    DCF spews:

    G Davis, our PUD is used as a model for others, as I stated in my post #133. The population of our PUD’s service area is approximately 68,400 and covers 2000 square miles. I would assume that in 1940 the addition of 45 jobs was a welcomed sight, since the depression was still around. I’d also assume that the people who filled these jobs were local people–there were lots of unemployed in the county. During the war, many Grays Harborites went to Seattle to work in the ship building and airplane industries, as there were plenty of our citizens at that time still looking for jobs.

  125. 137

    John spews:

    In response to comments #63 by RDC, and #64 bby: Generaly a tax breakdown for the State is very general. What I am talking about is my experience as a project manager, on public and private jobs, and the many exchanges I have had with people working in the State and Counties. One small example is the old $15,000 dollar skil saw Cliche’. On a school shop project the district paid $100.00 dollars for stanley 25′ tapes($9.99 home depot) $900 dollars for Porter Cable belt sanders(about $200 home depot)on, and on, and on. They required prevailing wages to set them in cabinets & requested the job be slowed down when they thought it was going too fast. In my experiance in L&I departments I have had times when I spent 3 hours waiting for workers to do a simple task of logging a document in a computer and making two photo copies. They were right in front of me talking about personal things, and my papers were passed off 3 times. it took all but 5 minutes to actually finish the task. I have seen this many times! I had a client from Santa Barbra fly down to get permits from one of our counties. He was flying back that night and was used to long waits in CA. , so he arrived at the county @ 8:30 am. There were five people ahead of him who took numbers(not a very heavy load). After watching the kind of behavior as mentioned above, at 4:30 they called his number and told him he had to come the next day.
    I spoke to a drug depency counsler that I know from one of our counties. It costs Aprox. $1400 per day when an addict ends up in the hospital for up to 2 weeks, paid for by the state. He is then released and is supposed to attend counseling (and most of the time does not show up). They end up in and out of the hospital @$1400 per day, until after a lenghty time later he gets the prosecuter to lock them up. God Knows what that costs. This counselor has a partially self supporting plan similar to other states plans that will allow rehabiltation, housing, and a job that will cost $60-$100 per day. Nobody is even willing to listen when he has presented it to many facets of the State.
    Why is it that it takes 5 years to build the second narrows bridge, When I can watch a more complicated longer bridge in South Carolina be built in one year? Im not involved with that project, but it is kind of interesting.

    I could go on and on with bigger examples and smaller, but the point is I have seen this State run a lot less eficient than private companies, and other states. I am not paranoid. There are services we need, but I think we pay a hefty price.

  126. 138

    RDC spews:

    John..thanks for the response. Sounds like you’ve had your share of frustration dealing with some less than conscientious people. The only criticism I would make, because there is really no way I can investigate each of your complaints (except perhaps the Narrows Bridge), is that you are probably predisposed to be critical when things don’t go quite right in your dealings with government. I have had similar experiences in dealing with private businesses. An example widely shared is trying to get any assistance with a computer or software problem. I have wasted whole days waiting for a private business to make a promised delivery, only to have them never show up. Etcetera, ad nauseum. The problem, I think, isn’t government or private business, it is poor management. We tend to think private business has better management, but the fact is that government is more visible, so problems are more apparent. I can assure you that private business has its fair share of incompetents, some in very high places. The profit motive sometimes weeds them out when margins are narrow and competition fierce, but that is not always the case (I think not even usually the case).
    On another point, where in the world would one go to pay $100 for a 25′ Stanley tape, or to pay $900 for a Porter-Cable belt sander? Two things bother me about such things, when true (many such stories are rumors without basis). The first is that the buyer doesn’t have a system for safeguarding against being gouged. This is what usually provokes outrage. What should also provoke outrage but never does is that there are businesses that deliberately try to gouge buyers, including, and perhaps especially, buyers for government. The bastards should be hung (figuratively).
    Again, thanks for the response, and the next time you get bad service from a government office, don’t be silent. Raise hell with the manager and let your state representative know. But make sure you are on solid ground first.

  127. 140

    John spews:

    I suppose you could be be right the State may have some management problems that could use some fixing. I suppose these type of problems exist in private, but people have the right to shop somewhere else. Oh well I guess people have the right to vote out new and old taxes until somebody listens.
    I guess you are probably right about price gouging, ederly people tend to fall victim often in the public. Those bastards should really be hung(figurativley).But however, I would think the principal and shop teacher buying from the salesperson might be a good check point to catch this type of gouging. No offense taken by the last sentence, sounds like good advice to me.

  128. 141

    John spews:

    It is almost funny to hear someone complain that Douglas county is getting $300,000 in assistance when King county has bathrooms that cost $600,000 a year to maintain(including rental to a company in Germany).