Northwest NEWS

April 26, 1999

Editorial

High wages and low taxes are unrealistic

   High wages and low taxes for all is everybody's dream, but is not really a part of the real world. I am on the list of folks who agree our teachers deserve a far better wage than they are currently getting, even though our kids are out of school (we've voted in favor of all levies, including athletics).

   An educated society naturally builds a stronger economic base and reduces crime. Teaching a child for 12 years is far less expensive than prosecuting them for a lifetime. And don't kid yourself, athletic training is just as important as the ABCs.

   It really irritates me when people consider sports something we can do without. Every child responds to something different; the mind, hands, and body all have a place in our world and we need all of them in our curriculum.

   I suppose my only complaint is: why are teachers afraid of eliminating tenure and taking periodic mandatory skills tests? My job requires it. If we gave all the teachers the money most of them deserve, we would never get rid of the not-so-good teachers we currently have.

   Then there is the issue of where the money is going to come from--taxes, of course. My guess would be from the General Fund which, by the way, gets a share of those outrageous license tag fees, which some people want to end with I-695. That is a bad choice--$30 tabs could raise sales or property taxes.

   Although our current tax system is a mess, you could conclude that the folks making the most are paying the most taxes. If you make enough to buy a Benz or Expedition, you can afford the tabs and fuel tax charges. If we lower those taxes, they will just get them from your house or apartment.

   Remember, we don't have an income tax (like Oregon, Idaho, and California) and the money needs to come from somewhere. I would propose a tax system that first determines the need, then binds a tax source to that need, then license tabs would go up or down according to the requirements for road improvements. I probably could take the "down" out of that statement.

   I know our system is much more complex than the example I gave, but think about this. One hundred thirty-nine tax reduction bills were proposed to the Finance Committee this session; 34 passed (we spend too much time arguing over the tax vs. determining the need).

   We need to define what our needs are (serious and leisure-wise) and associate them to a tax source. As long as the need exists or increases, so does the tax. If we don't want to pay the tax any longer, then eliminate the need. Maybe if we properly defined our needs and planned for the expense to meet the need, our students wouldn't be watching our teachers acting like children.

Dennis Dearing, Woodinville