Editorial overlooked budget cuts

Letter to the Editor.

I was dismayed to read in Jim McKiernan’s Jan. 21, 2004, column, “New politicians face big issues,” that Mr. McKiernan thinks King County “didn’t seem to get the message that the economy was faltering and that county staffing levels needed to be cut.”

In fact, County Executive Ron Sims and the County Council anticipated a bad economy and the resulting dire revenue losses and cut nearly $100 million from the general fund over the 2002, 2003 and 2004 budget cycles. The number of general fund, full-time employees, or FTEs, was also cut by more than 300.

I do appreciate Mr. McKiernan’s recognition of what Tim Eyman’s initiatives have done to eviscerate local government services, and his call for citizens to consider how important these services are to our communities.

If Initiative 864 passes, it will quadruple projected general fund shortfalls for King County. We will face an additional shortfall of approximately $65 million in 2005, on top of an expected shortfall of $20 million. An additional $85-million cut to our general fund in 2005 may be “manna from heaven” for a libertarian like Eyman, but it will be devastating to those in the Snoqualmie Valley who depend on local government services.

This new tax-gutting initiative comes at a time when property tax bills are actually falling for many County residents – The King County Journal, The Seattle Times and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran detailed stories about this on Jan. 30.

We welcome citizen involvement in the council’s deliberations and I hope the Snoqualmie Valley Record will assist in getting out much-needed, accurate information to your readers.

Larry Phillips

Metropolitan King

County Council