Northwest NEWS

October 15, 2001

Editorial

Now is not the time to jeopardize crucial services

We should not let rhetoric about "sky high" taxes lead us to overlook the impact that passing I-747 will have on emergency services in Washington state firefighters and hospital districts, for example.
   Who knows when or where the next disaster will strike? It may be something as small as a neighbor's house on fire or a crash on SR-522. Or it may be a repeat of the terrorist horror on the East Coast. Whenever disaster strikes, we need our emergency services to be prepared not after the next election.
   Our local fire department projects increasing budget impacts if I-747 passes, compounding over time.
   Decreased tax revenues will not be matched by decreases in firefighters' health insurance costs or cost of living increases. Added costs for ballot measures will probably be needed every other year. All these costs will add up during the very time
   period in which it takes no special insight to see the need for security and emergency services increasing. Let our elected representatives set reasonable levels of funding for these basic services as the situation demands. Firefighters should fight fires, not campaign for adequate funding.
   Let us defeat I-747 now. Supporters of tax limits may produce another initiative more concretely designating where to cut services if they like.
   Now is not the time to pass a measure that will jeopardize crucial services, just when our whole country has been made painfully aware of the value of capable, well-trained and fully-equipped firefighters and other emergency workers.
   K. Terry Thorsos, Woodinville