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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 26, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Washington state budget deficit

Tell us where and why and we’ll cut

I know you’re not a bunch of cowards down there at The Times, so prove it. Tell us what your Feb. 23 editorial really means [“State must cut, cut”].

You say the people of Washington are not expected to fill the budget “chasm.” If this is true, you should get tough and fess up to who will suffer the budget cuts.

You say if lawmakers pass a bill to actually raise the money needed, it would be an “economy killer.” Why is killing the economy unthinkable, but it’s perfectly fine to kill the poor and sick by eliminating programs that serve their most vital needs? Why is it fine with you to jeopardize the future of Washington’s young people with draconian cuts to education?

Come on, Times, get tough. Tell us. If you want “cut, cut, cut,” you had better say where.

What you need to admit is that the cuts you suggest mean a miserable death and a ruined future for many state residents. If this is what you really want, don’t hide under a cowardly editorial. Say it.

— Isabel D’Ambrosia, Seattle

A push off the cliff, not a free fall

The subheading on Feb. 20 read, “NW economy ‘fell off cliff’ in past few months” [“State’s $8B shortfall is among the worst,” page 1].

It should have read, “The governor and her Democrat allies in Olympia drove us off cliff.” This would be more fitting, considering Gov. Christine Gregoire’s irresponsible spending over the last four years.

— Dennis Flem, Langley

Income tax would be financial hardship

The Washington state Legislature has spent over 30 percent more than it has in the last four years.

Now is the time to use the priorities of government to determine what programs should stay and which ones should go. Get it done.

The Office of Fiscal Management’s fiscal analysis does not measure or assess the secondary effects of a personal-income tax on employment, investment, wages, income per capita and other variables.

Senate Bill 5104 has three major fiscal-reform elements that would drastically change the state’s revenue structure.

First, it proposes a graduated state-income tax on individuals and businesses, except corporations. Second, it eliminates the state portion of the property tax. Third, it reduces the state portion of the sales tax from 6.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

Below are impacts of SB 5104 on citizens:

As proposed, it represents a dramatic tax increase for people who do not own a home or have children;

As proposed, it taxes citizens whose low incomes classify them as poor; and

As proposed, it punishes those who succeed financially by taking larger portions of their income as it increases.

The financial hardship that an income tax would bring to families is designed to be offset by the elimination of the state portion of the property tax and by a reduction in the sales tax. In addition, deductions are allowed for spouses and children, similar to the federal income tax structure.

— John Derrig, Bellevue

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