Northwest NEWS

March 25, 2002


More traffic or higher taxes?

Olympia is giving us the choice: higher taxes or traffic? I'm saying "no" to both these options and offering the obvious, albeit politically incorrect, option. Cut government spending to pay for it and audit what spending is left to cut the waste.
   This state faces a giant budget shortfall and two massive road improvement plans. The typical reaction from Gary Locke and the legislature is to simply force the people to pay for their gluttony. None of us should pay for any transportation plan until we're allowed to see why this state can't cut itself first.
   For starters:
   Cut state employment by 10 percent across the board. Over 10 years this will save $8.7 billion dollars. That is $1 billion more than the statewide transportation plan and the excess can be used to close the statewide deficits.
   Begin performance audits of statewide agencies and eliminate prevailing wage to reduce costs to the
   taxpayers. Give State Auditor Brian Sonntag the ability to look inside bloated state agencies that Gary Locke is afraid to let the voters see. The savings here could be incredible.
   And vital to any transportation plan's success, we must strengthen concurrency under the Growth Management Act to require that roads are constructed and improved before local governments approve new development. We cannot allow the politicians' dream of new road dollars being used to subsidize their growth industry friends. New dollars must be used to fix congestion.
   Until this is done, I'm voting "no" on any tax increase.
   Michael Costello, Redmond