Last week's headlines offered two very
frightening realities in Washington State. The first announced Tim Eyman's newest round of tax-cutting initiatives. The second announced a $1.3 billion projected state budget deficit by Governor Locke. I find both the sequence and the reality of these announcements rather interesting.
In the first instance, it is clear that Eyman and not Locke is in charge of the Washington State budget. In the second instance, it is also clear that any money left in the state treasury is too much money for Eyman and company. When they declare that "you (never us) stick us with all sorts of taxes," their misinformation campaign means that any taxes, except for limited emergency services and highways, are too much.
It is not that they dislike specific services like education, economic development, workplace safety, childcare, elderly services, libraries, or even correctional facilities -- it's simply that they dislike PUBLIC services!
This tax revolution has little to do with taxes, it's all about services and how they don't want to pay for them at any price (our current overall tax burden is now probably the lowest in history).
What Howard Jarvis started nearly 30 years ago in California continues today in the form of the Eyman initiatives as a direct attack on the forms and roles of state and local government. The results are predictable, as Boeing leads the way in leaving Washington State due to a lack of efficient services. Look for many others to follow suit soon, just as many corporations did in California during the 1980s after Proposition 13 took effect.
My suggestion to state and local lawmakers is simply that they get the guts actually to follow Eyman's "mandate" and permanently cancel specific public services/projects.
Let me recommend starting with freeway construction/repairs (needed only because of a few carpet-bagging commuters and truckers), street repairs (needed only because of a few rich SUV owners), snow removal/sanding (needed only because a few Puget Sound ferry riders forgot how to drive safely) and highway rest areas (needed only because West Siders drink too many lattes). After all, why should I pay for something I, my family, friends and neighbors will never benefit from?
Thumbs down to Representative George Nethercutt (who voted for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but against increasing fuel efficiency standards) and the Bush Administration.
Understandably, folks want to do something -- anything -- to contribute to the war effort, but drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge isn't the answer. Drilling in the ANWR will do nothing to decrease our energy vulnerability, and it won't reduce our reliance on oil.
Recently a man fired a bullet into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, spilling 300,000 gallons of crude oil and shutting down the entire North Slope oil field for three days. And right now, not one of the 103 nuclear power plants is built to withstand impact by a commercial airliner. We must fix our vulnerabilities -- not continue to add to them.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the area holds less than a six-month supply of oil, and it would be another decade before any oil from the ANWR could come on-line.
America cannot drill its way to energy security. True energy security requires an energy plan that reduces our reliance on nuclear and fossil fuels. Using modern technology, we can use energy that's cleaner, cheaper and safer -- energy experts agree that making cars and SUVs go farther on a gallon of gas is the single most effective step we can take to decrease our dependence on oil.
A writer recently remarked, "You can't remain unmoved by the sight and sound of 100,000 caribou." And: "The native Gwich'in people of Arctic Village are opposed to drilling for oil; they don't want to risk their wealth of caribou."
We ask the Bush Administration: What happened to "local" control?
We, too, want a secure energy future, but we realize that opening up our nation's treasured wilderness lands, like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, will not give us energy security. We don't need to drill our homeland to protect it.
Chase C. Davis, Sierra Club
The Inlander shoots and misses! Being a sports fan, I was happy to see your article on the Gonzaga and Washington State basketball programs in the Nov. 22 edition of The Inlander, but I felt like it was lacking something. Maybe it was the omission of two other local university programs, Eastern and Whitworth. Sometimes I wonder if people remember that there are more than two universities in this area
Currently, I am a senior at EWU and have been amazed at how often we are overlooked. One would think that after EWU's victory over St. Joseph's, which was ranked ninth in the nation at the time, the team would garner some respect, but I guess that is too much to ask. It is unfortunate that a university 75 miles away (whose 12 wins last year isn't deserving of an article that size) gets more attention than an established Eastern program that missed the NCAA tournament by only one game.
I think it is time people in Spokane, including The Inlander, start taking notice of that tiny little school up the freeway in Cheney.
Josh Hall (An Eagle Fan For Life)