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Letter to the Editor: Cuts should begin at the top
I strongly support tax reform which includes an income tax, while dramatically reducing both the regressive sales and property taxes. I originally opposed the two-thirds requirement for new taxes that unnecessarily hindered the Legislature. At the same time, my only son hopes to soon be a state employee — a teacher.
That said, I am deeply offended by the Nov. 10 editorial in The Beachcomber accusing Washington voters of being snookered by ad campaigns opposing the income tax. Actually, the people who voted for the income tax were the ones snookered. They mistakenly believed the same Legislature that chose to ignore the will of the people by voting for new taxes would not immediately have lowered the income tax threshold, while failing to decrease the many regressive taxes. They were snookered when they believed the funds for education could not be touched, since the Legislature would simply have underfunded education from the general fund, while knowing the new tax would cover the difference.
Yes, cuts will have to be made. If the cuts were made from the top down and made fairly, it would be easier to bear. Start with a reduction in state worker benefits to a level comparable to the private sector and a freeze on wages until we can afford to rehire all the lost health and safety positions. If the rarely used roads in Eastern Washington were left unrepaired while our ferry service was cut, so be it. If people began taking care of themselves instead of relying on government for every little thing and quit expecting the government to provide services to people who are not even legally entitled to them, fewer taxes would be required. Unfortunately, people are not quite fired up enough or willing enough to put out a bit more effort — yet.
— Scott Harvey