Letters to the Editor

Sales-tax revenues are inadequate and unreliable | Letter

When my daughter entered kindergarten, I began to invest in her college education. In 1969, a four-year college education cost about $4,000. By the time she was ready for college in 1982, I had saved $5,000 for her, but it still wasn’t enough. Fortunately, she had work-study and off-campus employment and summer jobs to make up the difference, and she was able to graduate after six years (with four months on a Study Abroad program and eight months off to work full time). Then she added a year as a foreign-exchange student in Australia and paid out of her own pocket. Her college experience was labor intensive, but ultimately doable.

The tuition freeze may be welcome news for students today....but how does the state legislature justify cuts made to higher education in our state of 27.8 percent since 2008, coinciding with the recent recession? Sure, tax revenue was down because folks lost jobs and spending power, and the state budget had to be balanced....a short-sighted, short-term fix. State income went down because personal income went down (or stopped), therefore students are expected to pay more for education. Is that really logical? But if our kids are buried by college debts when they graduate, and they are unable to find suitable employment that utilizes their degrees, their lives are placed in limbo for several years....delayed careers and delayed families. And, if they are unemployed or underemployed, they cannot produce adequate sales-tax revenue to help fund the next generation of students’ higher education.

How much longer will it take Olympia to “get it?” Sales-tax revenues are inadequate and unreliable. Washington needs to swallow the bitter pill and begin to tax income, not purchases, to restore a healthy economy. If all working residents are taxed at the same percentage rate, inequality will decrease....and Washingtonians will have a brighter future. Invest in tomorrow!

Doris (Jody) Wilson, Kirkland

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