Letters to the Editor

Education: The good, the bad and the ugly | Letters

Unfortunately, the good news ended over three or four years ago when the housing and banking crisis hit during the Bush Administration. Since then, it has been all bad news as we keep going downhill.  The economy is suppose to be in a “recovery mode” and the stock market made some impressive gains in October; unfortunately, it hasn’t translated into job gains as the unemployment rate is stuck around 9 percent.

While European nations like Greece and Italy try to deal with their mounting debt crisis on an almost daily basis, our country also struggles with our burdening economy and mounting debt crisis.  To deal with this issue, a super-committee of six Republicans and six Democrats (co-chaired by our own Sen. Patty Murray) must come up with a plan to deal with this problem or automatic cuts will take effect, which will be bad news for everyone.

Like our country, our state (and the Legislature) continues to face an ongoing budget crisis as tax revenues from the sales and property taxes continue to decline due to economy and falling house prices. And like our state, each time this happens, not only our state but our school district has

to make painful budget cuts. But now it is just getting plain ugly as we are “scraping the bottom of the barrel” (literally) and now the cuts will be even more painful for a lot more people.

We now have no other choice but to face the inevitable question of “do we balance the equation by adding tax revenues as part of the solution and if so, where do those tax revenues come from?”

At the national level, the poor can’t afford any more tax hikes and the middle class are struggling given the state of our economy. So the obvious choice is to tax the rich even more because it will impact them less. The problem is the Republicans adamantly oppose that and they control the House of Representatives; hence, you have a stalemate in Congress. At the state level, the problem is the Washington state voters who already rejected a state income tax on the rich — thanks, in part, to scare tactics used in ads by those who opposed the measure.

Although Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget cuts did not include all-day kindergarten funding, the Federal Way School District could take another major hit in levy equalization funding, which the governor did cut. Those cuts would have to be determined by the school board if the Legislature does not reinstate the funding. One thing you must remember is the biggest item in our school district is staffing, and any cuts in staffing will impact the ability of our district to meet its mission.  That is a given.

So if you are a voter, think twice before you vote against another measure to add revenue for our state’s coffers. Ask yourself the $64,000 question: “Am I willing to accept the disastrous consequences it will have on our children/students and the residents of this state if we do not have the vital revenue we need to support our most basic and essential programs?”

If your answer is yes, then prepare for the “worst of the worst” because it really will get ugly.

Gary Robertson, Federal Way


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