With the public battle over King County’s new budget coming to a head just as word came of an agreement to acquire a controversial Maury Island gravel mine and preserve it as parkland, it didn’t take much to anticipate the anti-tax/anti-government crowd’s reaction: “How could we possibly be spending taxpayer money acquiring more parkland at the same time we’re slashing the Sheriff’s office by another 10 percent?”
Well… the Seattle Times explains:
WILLING seller, eager buyer and available, dedicated funds to make it happen. That is the dynamic behind King County’s plans to buy, preserve and protect 235 acres and a mile of Puget Sound shoreline on Maury Island.
[…] State Rep. Sharon Nelson, an island resident, secured $14.5 million in ASARCO pollution settlement funds. The King County Conservation Futures Fund, for just such purchases, is paying $19.1 million. Another $2.4 million is a credit the owners accepted in exchange for extension of an existing mining lease on the island.
The emphasis on the word “dedicated” is mine, but it gets to the heart of why I just roll my eyes whenever I see others roll their eyes about spending billions of dollars on a tunnel or something at the same time we’re slashing spending on this or that. See, government budgets are a helluva lot more complicated than, say, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn makes them sound when he storms out of budget negotiations in a fit of mathlessness.
And that’s why I also roll my eyes when I hear Republicans talking about how easy it would be for them to fix our fiscal crisis, if only they were in complete control.