Kittitas County Accountability~
This weekend I was looking over mail I hadn’t opened from the prior week. In it was my ballot for the August 6 primary. Upon opening it, I saw only 2 items for us in Kittitas County to engage in.
- Proposition No.1 , Criminal Justice Sales and Use Tax
- Legislative District 13 State Representative, Position 2
I am writing this to address the County position that we permanently extend and existing Sales & Use Tax in the County to fund “CRIMINAL JUSTICE”.
A little history is needed here. In approximately 2005, the County ran a criminal justice measure which was specifically earmarked for the much-needed remodeling/rebuilding of the County detention system. In fact, I voted for this added tax as I support our County law enforcement group and felt that if they pick up people breaking the law, it was the citizen’s responsibility to provide the “Capital Improvements” needed to support the efforts. The measure passed placing a 3/10 of 1% tax to our local sales tax.
What I did not support was that six years later a “CRIMINAL JUSTICE” tax was again running for voter approval for the support of the Prosecutors and Sheriff’s office. Capital projects I understand but adding a tax just to add a tax … not so much! Today, the county enforcement arm is well covered in recently updated vehicle purchases and other added items.
This measure is coupled with an increase in the County budget in excess of $50 million per year and this does not consider that many departments have been removed from the County Budget in lieu of operating as Enterprise Funded Departments who need to support themselves via target fees for services. Just do the math;
- Our County has grown to 44,000 plus citizens,
- Operating under a $100 million-plus operating budget;
- This burdens each one of us with the responsibility to support county government to the tune of roughly $2,275 per year.
And this does count the Criminal Justice value which is a sales tax and not included in the county budget mentioned above.
On the primary ballot under Resolution 2019-070, we are asked to permanently put in place these tax $$$$s FOREVER! Are those funds earmarked for a special program or can they support a reason why we, as citizens should consider this? I haven’t seen anything. How about YOU?
This post was started with three little Central Washington Sentinel concepts:
ACCOUNTABILITY – TRANSPARENCY – VISION.
We also support and encourage that “it is not a right, rather a responsibility to question our government”.
We would encourage all Kittitas County citizens to vote NO on authorizing this permanent Criminal Justice tax. The county operates under a budget for a purpose and as citizens, we need to carefully monitor them just as we do our children. Look no farther than the past legislative session to realize that spending someone else’s money is very easy to do.
In the near future, the County is looking at replacing the County’s building complex’s as well as requesting the extension of the Flood District taxing authority. These will be capital projects which will need to be justified but will also provide real – physical improvements to serve the Citizens of the County. Again, I recommend a no vote on Resolution 2019-070 and ask our law enforcement agencies to justify the needed “extra’ funds and provide some TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY with some much needed VISON.