Government needs to get priorities straight
October 3, 2008 · Updated 12:41 AM
Let's talk taxes. For over 60 years, in good times and in bad, King County had the funds to operate its parks, including Si View park and pool. Park operations were a priority of the voters, and thus of government. But things have changed, especially in the past few years. State, county and city governments have a new priority: maintaining and increasing the size of government. This was easy for taxpayers to allow during good economic times, but today's tougher economic times require government to reassess their priorities. A tough, but necessary job.
Rather than become more efficient, our government believes that if they can impact the voters by reducing hours of operation, giving poor service, turning off street lights and closing public parks, they will convince the voters of the need for more money.
For me, they have not made their case. I know of at least one group that wished to make an offer to maintain and operate Si View park at little or no cost to the taxpayers. But, Ron Sims would not meet to discuss this option.
Not long ago, Jerry Venera and Rod Churchill, together with their wives, family and friends, created the North Bend Complex. They conceived, designed, constructed and operated this public facility with little taxpayer support. The baseball complex not only served Valley youth, but through summer tournaments, our business community gained a huge economic stimulus.
Public-private partnerships have worked in the past and can work again. But, I believe our government is more interested in creating a larger bureaucracy with a new taxing authority than it is in serving the citizens. Our government values bureaucracy and regulations over progress and results.
The funding shortfall for our parks was created by our elected officials. Before I would approve new taxes to fund old priorities, I would ask our leaders to justify new programs with new dollars approved by the voters.
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