Letters to the Editor

I’m against tax increases | Letter

I vote “no” on any and all tax increases. I don’t care what they’re for. Whether roads, schools or 911 services, I always vote “no.” (Why must we vote for a basic service like 911, when we don’t get to vote for a frill like freeway art?) I also vote against any politician who advocates any tax increase. I particularly vote against any politician who promises to “invest” in roads, education etc. These politicians can’t even be honest about their desire for a tax increase.

Well into this supposed recovery, I suffered a series of pay cuts. I now make 40 percent less than I did before this recession. I consider myself lucky, since I still have a job. Each year, my disposable income is further reduced by property tax increases, sales tax increases, car tab increases and gas tax increases. In a supposedly low inflation environment, prices for essentials like food and gas have gone through the roof. Obamacare raised my health insurance by 46 percent and doubled my deductible. That’s 46 percent more for half the coverage. As a 53-year-old male, Obamacare forces me to buy insurance I don’t need, like pregnancy and prescription coverage. This unneeded coverage raises my costs so much that I can no longer afford the dental insurance I really need and want.

So to all levels of government, I want to say I am through. I am tapped out. I am sucked dry.

However, even if I were doing well, I would still vote “no” on every tax increase. I will not willingly pay for your bloated bureaucracy, yearly pay raises and generous pensions. If we give government any more money, all we can expect is more incompetence, arrogance and a general lack of value for the dollar.

Except for the morning and evening runs to and from Seattle, I see mostly empty buses. As I slog through Eastside traffic, it is obvious that these empty buses contribute more than their share to the infuriating congestion. Metro has the third highest operating cost per mile in the country. Each rider’s fare is subsidized 82 percent by the taxpayer.

Our road funds are diverted to fringe uses like bike lanes and bus-only lanes. The majority of our highway funds already go to various mass-transit agencies. Most people drive and will always drive. Instead of actually prioritizing congestion reduction, the government pushes stupid light rail plans that actually reduce road capacity on I-90. They build a convention center over the I-5 freeway knowing that it would create a permanent chokepoint. Several years ago, Kemper Freeman came up with a cost-effective and common-sense plan to reduce congestion by improving roads at known chokepoints. The usual, “you can’t build your way out of congestion” crowd shot his plan down.

Even when we actually manage to get a new road project started, it’s usually designed to carry fewer cars. The viaduct replacement will carry fewer vehicles. SR-520 has no added general purpose lanes, but of course, it will have a state of the art bike lane. Even worse, the problems with the 520 concrete pontoons and Big Bertha drilling machine are ample evidence of the general incompetence of government to do anything.

The government at all levels already collects plenty of revenue. What is needed is serious spending reform. Government labor unions must be eliminated. (When government workers bargain with a boss who owes his political survival to the workers he is negotiating with, it is an obvious conflict of interest.) So-called “prevailing wage” laws must be eliminated. (This law forces the government to pay more than actual market rate for construction labor.) Using the sales tax on transportation projects to divert transportation funds to the general fund should also be stopped. Frankly, if the government could just complete a road project without wildly inflated costs and total mismanagement, it would go a long way to restoring my faith in government. When I start seeing the government get serious about real reform, I’ll reconsider my position on taxes.

Glenn Angliss, Redmond

 

 

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