Anderson: Reform protects schools

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - Reform and reorganization of government will top Rep. Glenn Anderson's agenda if voters elect to send him to the state Legislature again next month.

The one-term Republican is running against Democratic challenger Loren Skaggs for the 5th District Position 2 seat in the state Legislature.

He said reform and reorganization will be necessary to keep education the state's top priority when budget cuts to make up for a projected $2 billion state deficit are considered for the biennium starting July 1, 2003.

"There are going to be some deep and significant cuts," he said. "Our first priority is making sure we are fulfilling our constitutional mandate to supply education for the state's children."

Pay raises for entry-level teachers, merit pay for career educators and Initiative 732 - which secures cost-of-living increases for teachers - dollars are all areas of education Anderson said he wants to protect.

He said he would also consider state legislation that would lift levy lids - the maximum amount a school district can tax - as long as they bring all districts to the same level of taxing authority.

Reforming and reorganizing the state's growth and development regulations will be necessary to stimulate business, Anderson said, adding the taxes and regulations put upon small businesses in the state is enough to make them go under.

"There are state regulations that Boeing can afford to do, but would put the corner florist out of business," he said.

Anderson also said the state Deparment of Ecology (DOE) needs to be reformed to stimulate growth, adding it has taken too long to grant water rights to Eastside communities and that North Bend, in particular, should be getting more help from the agency.

"I think they [North Bend] have been treated reather shabbily by the DOE," he said.

Transportation is another issue Anderson said will have to be dealt with.

Although he doesn't support everything Referendum 51 would fix, he said it is a good start to dealing with congestion. The referendum involves a proposed one-time, 1-percent surcharge on vehicle purchases and a phased-in, 9-cent-per-gallon gas tax to pay for specific Washington State Department of Transportation projects.

"I'm going to be a real hawk to make sure those dollars are spent wisely," Anderson said.

State Route 202 is a road he said he would like to eventually see some work done on. Funds for a project that would redirect the road to the other side of Falls Hill, which had early predictions of running into the $30 million range, are not there, but Anderson said he will keep the project on the table in future years.

"We'll bring that up later," he said.

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