Northwest NEWS

October 4, 1999


I-695 is a tax revolt

   I would like to reply to some of the comments made in the cover story of the Sept. 20th edition of the Woodinville Weekly, "Northshore cities brace for I-695 fallout."

   Woodinville Deputy Mayor Scott Hageman seemed concerned that they would have to be constantly informing the general public about every little tax and budget increase that they feel they need, as a possible result of I-695. I say that if they are constantly imposing lots of little tax and budget increases every year, then I have a right to know about them and maybe dispute them in advance, not after the fact. This statement by Deputy Mayor Hageman should be an alarm to everyone regarding how the City of Woodinville generates revenue.

   The City Council doesn't think that we the taxpayers should have to make complex decisions regarding tax revenue, because they, the elected officials, are there to do that for us. While it is true that we elect them to make decisions for us, I would say that they have been doing a poor job of it, and we need to take back some of the responsibility.

   Furthermore, I'm offended by the implication that we the taxpayers are not capable of making complex decisions. This elitist attitude by our elected officials and politicians needs to come to an end.

   The Kenmore City Council has already voted to consider replacing the anticipated loss in revenue with a substantial increase in utility taxes. My only reaction to this statement is that when my daughter was born and eventually had to go to daycare, we knew that 34% of our net take-home pay would be used to pay for this. To deal with this new expense and still live within our means, we couldn't just go to our employers and demand an increase in pay. No, we actually had to cut back on the non-essential items in our life and use some good old-fashioned self-discipline to control our spending.

   One year later, we have both received modest annual increases in pay and have realized that the things that we cut out we really don't miss or need. And you know what? We still make the mortgage payment on time, and haven't fully replaced that 34%.

   In closing, my personal observation is that when the government is faced with a forced reduction in revenue, they automatically look for ways to replace it, and they use scare tactics to try to keep it. I-695 would put us, the government's boss, back in the driver's seat, and we would decide if there is really a need to replace any lost revenues or increase any existing taxes.

Erich V. Britton, Woodinville