February 26, 2001
Programs and jobs are cut as taxes go up
County Executive Ron Sims has announced that as many as 500 county jobs could be cut, while other entire programs could be whacked to make up a projected $36 million shortfall in the 2002 county budget.
The question I have is whether those jobs and programs are more important than the handouts of tax dollars to the developer of Redmond Ridge.
King County has just earmarked $90 million of taxpayer money in the CIP to widen a single rural road so the developer won't have to pay it. This road must be widened to alleviate the gridlock coming because of Redmond Ridge.
But because Redmond Ridge's real impacts to Novelty Hill Road were hidden, the taxpayers of King County - not the developer - are now being forced to pay this cost.
This $90 million gift to the developer equates to a lot of jobs and a lot of programs. In fact, it's more than double next year's estimated shortfall, including the millions the council spends in all of its 200+ "lollipop fund" appropriations.
Then, to make matters worse, county officials are going to Olympia to lobby for $4 billion in new taxes to pay for other road and freeway improvements we can't afford while they're giving taxpayer dollars to developers, instead of requiring them to pay their share.
I'm tired of government subsidizing developer profits and I'm tired of my taxes going up to pay for it while programs and jobs are cut as a consequence.
Michael Costello, Redmond