Opinion

Vote yes on Prop. 1 for King County veterans | Groshart

Times are tight, the economy is in trouble again and no one knows what to do. It couldn’t be a worse time to ask for money.

Nevertheless, an issue on the primary ballot does just that. King County Proposition 1 — the Veterans and Human Services Levy — asks voters to approve a tax levy of 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to support a variety of services to those who need them most.

Please say yes. This isn’t a new tax. It replaces a similar measure that is expiring. If approved, it will continue the same tax rate for another six years. The average homeowner will pay around $20 to $30 a year.

These days, more of our military are returning to civilian life after experiencing two gruesome wars. They need help and services. For example:

• 90 percent of Iraq/Afghanistan solders have experienced trauma;

• Suicide rate for veterans has increased 26 percent since 2005;

• More than 20 percent of recently returned veterans are unemployed.

While the federal Veterans Administration does a fine job meeting many of their needs, it doesn’t provide everything. This levy helps. Because of the levy:

• 84 percent of veterans served have improved their housing, employment or income.

• 95 percent of veterans receiving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder were able to reduce their symptoms.

• 88 percent of veterans served in the Veterans Incarcerated Project have not reoffended within a year of receiving services provided by the levy.

The levy doesn’t just benefit veterans. It also helps our community’s poor, who often have nowhere else to turn for help. For example:

• 93 percent of at-risk families who received one-time mortgage or rent assistance were able to prevent homelessness and stay in their homes;

• A mobile medical van has been funded and, as a result, more than 2,800 isolated and chronically homeless people were able to receive health or behavioral health services;

• It has funded 1,200 new housing units.

In a perfect world, the taxes we already pay to government would take care of these needs. But, as we all know, such a world doesn’t exist. We can choose to walk away and ignore the issue. Or we can pay a bit more to assist our veterans and others who desperately need our help. This levy has support from members of both political parties, business and nonprofit groups, and many community leaders. There is no organized opposition.

Now we need to do our part. Vote yes on King County Proposition 1.

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