November 12, 2010
Sheriff Deputies First

Those familiar with the standard ploys in budget fights will not be surprised to learn that King County is planning to lay off sheriff deputies, in order to balance its budget.

Metropolitan King County Council budget negotiators have completed a 2011 spending plan that would reduce the number of layoffs in most departments — but not in the Sheriff's Office, where deputies have refused to give up a scheduled raise next year.

The plan, which goes before the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee Friday, responds to a $60 million shortfall by proposing to eliminate more than 300 jobs through layoffs and attrition. A final council vote is set for Monday.

They are standard ploys, because they often work.  The county was unable to persuade voters to approve a tax increase, and so the county's leaders are threatening to punish the voters by taking away the services that are most important to those voters.

(The county is also, I would guess, continuing to negotiate with the deputies by threatening to lay them off.)

It's an even better ploy here than it would be in most places, because it hits the unincorporated parts of King County hardest — which is where the opposition to tax increases is the strongest, and where you find the most opponents of the county executive, Dow Constantine, and the Democratic majority on the council.  (Technically, they are now nonpartisan, but no one else pays any attention to that, so I won't either.)

And, just to make the ploy a touch better, people in law enforcement are more likely to support Republicans and conservatives, so those deputies have probably been voting for the wrong candidates — from the Democrats' point of view.

Is King County really that short of money?  It's hard to say without taking a closer look at their budgets than I have time for today, but I haven't heard that Dow Constantine, or the members of the council, have offered to give up part of their pay.  And, they have just committed the county to buying land for a new park, in a location where you won't find many poor people.

Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.

(This ploy is often called the "fireman first" ploy, since cities will threaten to get rid of firemen in order to squeeze more taxes out of the taxpayers.  King County has no firemen, or they would be in danger, too.)

Posted by Jim Miller at November 12, 2010 01:07 PM | Email This
Comments
1. You're being disingenuous here. How about posting the relevant parts from the rest of the article, like this one:

"Many other county employees would keep their jobs because they agreed through their labor unions to give up cost-of-living allowances."

In other words, many unions agreed to give up previously negotiated raises in order to preserve jobs for their members.

The Sherriff's office could have done the same, but didn't. They chose to take their 5% raise instead, as a result of which their budget no longer supports the number of people in the department. If anyone's engaged in a ploy it sounds like it's the Sherriff's Office, threatening impairment of public safety because of layoffs rather than do what other unions have done for the good of King County and their own members.


Posted by: Prometheus on November 12, 2010 01:29 PM
2. Prometheus, are the cuts being proposed equal to the amount that would be saved if the cops had forgone their 5% raise? I’ll save you the time to look it up. The answer is no.

Posted by: Moondoggie on November 12, 2010 01:49 PM
3. How about Foot Ferries First? Non-essential service that can be done without during these trying financial times.

Posted by: Smokie on November 12, 2010 02:25 PM
4. Smokie:

That is a good suggestion. Unfortunately we in this state do not elect politicians (R or D) that ever suggest cutting an entire department. It is always just reduce depts budgets in bad times a little and increase alot in good times.

When was the last time you heard a candidate in WA say we need to elliminate something?

Posted by: Lysander on November 12, 2010 02:32 PM
5. Well, King County has eliminated support for the Senior Centers around the County and the food banks. Yet the Foot Ferries remain untouched. I guess it's all in what you prioritize. The Seniors have lived a full life, they should just stay home and the Food Bank people just need to get a job, That's King County !

Posted by: Smokie on November 12, 2010 02:50 PM
6. I see d.v. services aren't cut. Why do women and women's groups continue to receive special treatment under law? Why are little children not considered above that group? Something is rotten and stinking. Little children are least able to contend with domestic violence in their families. According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services and DOJ statistics, more kids are killed by neglect and abuse in a year (1,760 in 2007), than all the female intimate partner homicides in a year. Mothers are the single largest group of kid killers, according to HHS and they have a rate twice that of fathers. Nowhere near the money is spent to protect kids from kid killing mothers as is spent by the domestic violence industry to protect women. A lot of innocent men are witch-hunted by the corrupt, gender feminist influenced, taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry. Involving the corrupt d.v. industry in an attempt to prevent abusive and neglectful deaths of children is a big mistake. No place better characterizes the corruption of the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry than "Los Misandry" at Youtube.

Posted by: Ray2447 on November 12, 2010 03:18 PM
7. It stinks for male taxpayers to pay for services where they are being discriminated against. V.P. Biden recently called violence against women, "the very worst abuse." The very worst abuse is valuing one life less than another for having been born the wrong sex. Under Biden's Violence Against Women Act the wrong sex is men. Shelter and services are virtually non-existent for male victims of domestic violence so those options out of a bad relationship, that are routinely available to women, are very often not available to men. Men wind up gender profiled and often falsely accused by the taxpayer funded, d.v. industry, because of gender feminist ideology controlling the d.v. industry. Men are often battered by domestic violence, and then battered again by the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry as shown in "Los Misandry" at Youtube.

Posted by: Ray2447 on November 12, 2010 03:22 PM
8. Lysander,

The pols don't cut entire agencies or departments because doing so would put their cronies, who occupy high-paying senior positions in such agencies, out of a job. It's all about political patronage to special interest groups, and public safety doesn't rank all that highly when compared to advocates for illegal aliens, lesbians, abortion rights groups or the homeless.

Posted by: Saltherring on November 12, 2010 03:24 PM
9. Domestic violence programs are a biased use of taxpayer's money. Women's domestic violence against men is grossly under reported, while male victims are still routinely being ignored by the taxpayer funded domestic violence industry. Credible research overwhelmingly shows that the ratio of d.v. is at least 50/50 between women & men. http://tinyurl.com/3sakk According to one study by researchers who work at the CDC, in 70% of domestic violence incidents, where the domestic violence is not mutual, it's women who initiate the domestic violence. http://tinyurl.com/yzm9xhe The taxpayer funded domestic violence industry has largely mischaracterized the true nature of d.v. from the beginning and continues to mislead the public. D.V. law follows a gender feminist agenda/ideology over facts in evidence and does great harm to many innocent men (and also many battering women who need help) as shown in "Los Misandry" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAmOxvudpF8

Posted by: Ray2447 on November 12, 2010 03:24 PM
10. Saltherring:
I agree. That is why I try and only vote for new comers to politics who do not have cronies. If they are already in office, then i want to see a good voting record that shows they have been trying to cut out programs.

Posted by: Lysander on November 12, 2010 03:29 PM
11. Knowing full well how many King County libraries are being renovated, this cut-essential-service-first scheme of King County is just disgusting. Why do people simply lose common sense when they start working for government?

Posted by: DoppioLover on November 12, 2010 03:48 PM
12. Sheriffs are the only place to save money?

REALLY?

King Co. has money for this? But not Sheriffs?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDQDxtXNVEs

Rest of my comment is self deleted.

Posted by: JCM on November 12, 2010 04:47 PM
13. Another good reason I moved out of King Co. in 2002. I had to call 911 a while back and it took the deputy an hour to get out to our place. Not a big deal at the time. We have a saying over here, "Shoot, Shovel, Shut UP!" It looks like that may soon apply to you in King Co soon.

Posted by: Roger in Republic on November 12, 2010 04:49 PM
14. Another good reason I moved out of King Co. in 2002. I had to call 911 a while back and it took the deputy an hour to get out to our place. Not a big deal at the time. We have a saying over here, "Shoot, Shovel, Shut UP!" It looks like that may soon apply to you in King Co soon.

Posted by: Roger in Republic on November 12, 2010 04:50 PM
15. Who are you kidding? Cops and firemen routinely support Democrats. In exchange, they get more positions and higher pay, and there is no end in sight. We have way too many cops in most every jurisdiction. When the cops stop giving out mips,tickets for ten over, noise violations and other cs tickets, we can then talk about whether we need more. In the interim, a meaningful layoff would be most appropriate and most welcome.

Posted by: tim on November 12, 2010 05:12 PM
16. Nov. 10th WA Policy Center reported on the incredible waste being racked up by King County since it took over the West Seattle Ferry from private operator Argosy Cruises. It cost KingCounty 3-1/2 times to run it as Argosy's costs for such. That's all so Dow Constantine could please special interests, which he clearly values more highly than serving taxpayers in the best and most efficient way possible. What a total shame. We are completely disrespected by these pols, who have no idea how bad it looks to everyone else. They should, but their goals are clearly serving special interests, not the people.

So this is another area they could fix to save about $2 million. It needs to happen NOW. Stop disrespecting the taxpayers, Dow Constantine and the council democrats!
Thank you WA Policy Center for the good reporting.

Posted by: Michele on November 12, 2010 06:22 PM
17. Btw, in light of the cuts, now may be a good time to become a firearm owner, since I live in unincorporated KC. But if they wouldn't needlessly waste valuable tax dollars on grossly inefficient ferry costs, we could spend it on actual important items, like sheriff's deputies.

Posted by: Michele on November 12, 2010 06:27 PM
18. Personally I am not distressed over the layoff of deputies anyway. They have already threatened to stop investigating property crimes under $10,000, and they don't investigate car theft period. Almost everyone I know with a crime victim experience mentions how hard it was to get police to arise from slumber.

But they always seem to have the resources to go after hookers, massage joints, and strippers.

And what is it with Seattle-area PDs--one debacle after another? Fake diplomas, kissing explorers, writing phony anonymous letters against each other, losing Glocks, broadcasting sex sessions over police radio etc. Not one but two KCSO ex-deps doing time for murder.

Best approach these days is to protect your own property with security & insurance, and do your best to avoid being a target of criminals (avoid the city of Seattle, for example).

Posted by: ehud on November 12, 2010 07:09 PM
19. #18: Actually, they don't investigate property crimes over $10k, either. We had a theft 1-1/2 yrs ago toward the end of our construction project. Thieves broke in and stole $32,000 worth of appliances, building materials, etc. We called the sheriff's--they came, but didn't do any investigation after they left at all!

Posted by: Michele on November 12, 2010 07:46 PM
20. Metropolitan King County Council budget negotiators have completed a 2011 spending plan that would reduce the number of layoffs in most departments, but not in the Sheriff's Office, where deputies have refused to give up a scheduled raise next year.

Wow, I bet the local red-meat, right-wing bloggers are going to have a field day with this, denouncing those greedy public-sector unions, who refused to give up raises in a time of low inflation and high unemployment. The righteous condemnation will ring out with crystal clarity, no doubt.

The county was unable to persuade voters to approve a tax increase, and so the county's leaders are threatening to punish the voters by taking away the services that are most important to those voters.

Why, it's almost like some connection could exist between tax revenues and government services!!1! That sounds like some kind of commie mind-trick!

... it hits the unincorporated parts of King County hardest, which is where the opposition to tax increases is the strongest,

The people who most oppose paying taxes thus get less government services. If that's not the very definition of injustice, Jim can't say what is.

... people in law enforcement are more likely to support Republicans and conservatives ...

Cliches are just like facts, but better, for two reasons: (1) they don't require lots of time and effort to find, and (2) they never contradict the very point you were trying to use them to support.

Is King County really that short of money? It's hard to say without taking a closer look at their budgets than I have time for today...

"I have time to write a post on this topic, but not to use the searchy thingy to see if what I'm claiming has anything to do with reality."

C'mon, Jim, unleash your inner Jonah Goldberg: ask your readers to do your research for you.

Posted by: tensor on November 12, 2010 08:00 PM
21. Well, laid-off deputies or not, at least the county is spending $36M to buy a gravel pit on Maury Island to turn into a park. Of course, we don't have money to run the parks we already have, but what the heck... Idiots.

Posted by: HdwJunkie on November 12, 2010 10:09 PM
22. Re tensor's rant: Not giving up raises? Hmmm, Our family is earning LESS this year. We not only didn't get a raise, we had a paycut. And nobody pays for our medical insurance premiums but US. Who would ever put up with that?? Answer: We had no choice to give up anything. It happened TO us. It would have been nice to at least earn the same, like people who "gave up" 'raises'. I'd have been happy to just earn the same as last year. Gee....

Posted by: Michele on November 12, 2010 10:16 PM
23. tensor: Give Jim a break. He's a confused coot who can frequently be seen here lecturing the press on journalistic standards, but he can't seem to handle writing an accurate headline that makes sense or even matches the content of his own story.

Sheriff Deputies First he writes. Yet his own post notes that the county proposes reducing headcount by 300 overall with 16 of them being sheriff deputies. So how are they first?

He mentions other steps the county has already taken: negotiating pay freezes with other departments, attempting to negotiate pay freezes with the deputies, and asking voters for additional funding, specifically for the purpose of maintaining some services while others are being cut. All of these things have already happened -- you know, before the thing Jim says is going to happen first.

It's hard to figure what conservatives like Jim want. They say they want government to ask voters before raising taxes and to get by with less if voters are not so inclined. They want government to negotiate with public employees, reducing benefits and holding the line on salaries. The county has done these things, yet that's not enough because Jim wants that other magical thing: He wants the county to maintain services with less funding. In other words, he wants something for nothing.

Posted by: scottd on November 13, 2010 07:39 AM
24. I almost forgot to mention further evidence of Jim's confusion:

Is King County really that short of money? ... they have just committed the county to buying land for a new park...

It's conservative dogma that voters should be given more choice in deciding taxes and what they should fund. In 2007, county voters decided to tax themselves to fund parks maintenance and operations and to acquire additional open space. In 2010, they decided they didn't want to tax themselves to preserve current levels of police service in the face of declining revenue from traditional sources. The voters have spoken! Yet, Jim wonders why there is money for parks but not for sheriff's deputies.

Posted by: scottd on November 13, 2010 07:53 AM
25. I watched King-5 when they made the announcement that they were going to have to lay off people in King County because of budget shortfalls, and without even taking a breath they continued the report by stating that they would spend 2.2 Million for walking paths... What a bunch-o-crap!!!

Posted by: What on November 13, 2010 08:12 AM
26. See comments from note criminal justice expert (sheriff, professor and consultant) Sheriff Gary Raney on the possible future of law enforcement and needed changes at the local level:

Where will law enforcement be in 5 years and what is driving change?

Economics are driving change. It is already happening. It costs $125K a year to have a full time patrol officer. This can be done less expensively if outsourced – just like they are doing in Oakland. We are set in a structure that will make us less effective unless we change it. There are invisible boundaries drawn that cause unnecessary separation between local law enforcement and we need to be better in working together and collocating resources. We need to change or the private sector will step in. In five years, I hope we are integrating and sharing information and resources. That is the key to success in the future.

At one level, we need to see better efficiencies – shared crime labs, narcotics teams and S.W.A.T teams, for example. Smaller jails will need to give way to larger regional facilities. Those lines between local law enforcement will be erased to make efficiency possible. I am not talking about a move to a national police force but more effective, efficient coordination locally. Homeland Security did provide some movement to better interoperability, but we still have a long way to go.

At another level, we need to consider our mission as a service agency and how to evolve as I mentioned – before the private sector does it first. To do that, every agency needs to address every problem by looking at what’s best for the community as a whole, not just what’s best for us and an agency.

Source: pending interview on www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com

Posted by: CriminalJusticeDegreeSchools on November 13, 2010 10:08 AM
27. The 2010 KC budget was $5 billion. The 2011 budget is $5.1 billion. Revenue is not the problem. They could find other areas of the budget to cut if they wanted to save police.

Posted by: Palouse on November 13, 2010 10:51 AM
28. @#23, what scottd is really annoyed about is that Jim is pointing out the game leftist politicians routinely play. It makes scottd uncomfortable that folks are getting wise to the game, at last.

The left has played this game for eons. They always need more money for schools, after all "it's for the children". Schools are always "crumbling". They conveniently neglect the fact that taxpayers have pumped billions into public schools, which happen to be run by leftists.

I'll bet Chris Christie scares the heck out of scottd.

Posted by: bill Cruchon on November 13, 2010 11:15 AM
29. What, you don't expect them to cut the public art budget, do you? Duh!

Posted by: Kato on November 13, 2010 11:26 AM
30. I wonder if scottd thinks my point at #17 is legitimate. (I don't see how he could disagree with it). I wonder if scottd actually believes citizens wanted fewer sheriffs and one more gravel pit park right now. I wonder if scottd truly IS unable to see in just those 2 examples alone how out of whack the county's priorities are and that they don't spend our money wisely/efficiently.
I wonder if scottd voted for 1098 so he could get a tax cut while claiming he wanted to pay more in taxes.
One wonders...

Posted by: Michele on November 13, 2010 11:29 AM
31. If we get rid of foot ferries and park construction/conversion, we'll be able to save all the sheriff positions and the King County budget will be balanced. Got it.

Posted by: Stunk on November 13, 2010 12:40 PM
32. You're confused, Michele. When did I say I wanted to pay more in taxes?

And if buying a firearm makes you feel better, go ahead. Try not to hurt yourself.

Do you find it surprising that the county uses voter-approved taxes for the purpose they were given? Or do you think the county should ignore the will of the voters and (illegally) use those funds for another purpose?

BillC: Jim's confused ramblings don't annoy me. But since he's a frequent self-styled critic of news media, his inability to make a coherent point or even bother with basic research before posting sure as hell amuses me.

Posted by: scottd on November 13, 2010 01:09 PM
33. scottd, how many times have we heard self-righteous-sounding trolls come in here and criticize those of us who are financially holding up this state already with tons of taxes, and say "I don't mind paying a little more" blah blah blah. Then they started coming in here and talking about how they were going to vote for 1098 because it would cut their taxes. Yah, nice consistency there, trolls.
And I assume you think it's just ducky that they are completely wasting taxpayer dollars on grotesquely inefficient W. Seattle ferry operation. Yes, KC has earned some criticism.

Posted by: Michele on November 13, 2010 02:13 PM
34. scottd says, "And if buying a firearm makes you feel better, go ahead. Try not to hurt yourself."

The condescending snottiness of people on the left is so predictable.

I rather expect that Michele knows how to handle a firearm. Someone like scottd, maybe not so much.

Posted by: Bill Cruchon on November 13, 2010 03:13 PM
35. Off Subject

http://www.hhs.gov/ociio/regulations/approved_applications_for_waiver.html

Posted by: Tim on November 13, 2010 11:02 PM
36. The president of the Deputy’s guild was called to a meeting with the council who demanded that they (Deputy’s) give up the 5% for the "good of the many". This contract was given the guild as a "take it or leave it" contract deal by King County acouple of years ago and included losses in overtime, less money for health care and intrusive "Health management" programs (they get to know everything about your health and what history you have and what drugs you are taking etc.) The guild president opened the KC budget and showed underlined where MILLIONS of dollars were wasted in the last two years. Result the council walked out of the "talks" (really demands for compliance) and told the guild to get lost. It’s submitt or die as far as the socialist dictatorship in KC is concerned. KC has its priorities that include two, million dollar funded (illegal) Alien assistance boards, first time low income home buyer assistance (how'ed that work out for Barney in the Fed government?), among lots of other things. The KC council hates the idea of cops that they don’t directly control, directing who will be arrested and who is immune based on political leftist concerns, just like Seattle PD. The average citizen does not even come onto their radar in concerns

Posted by: Sulaco on November 14, 2010 11:05 AM
37. Dontcha just wish FOR ONCE...that The Leftist idiots would admit that it would make SO much sense for the Government to be in whatever support/business role it chooses...SO LONG AS IT MAKES MONEY...I mean, the IRS mandates that a business must have a "profit motive" but our Cities, Counties and State continue to invest in something like a park, from a gravel pit FOR NOTHING!!! If every bus rider, ferry rider and park-goer had to pay the actual costs for use of those facilities...I mean ACTUAL cost to operate, as outlined by a typical accounting firm like say...Moss Adams, who examines the overall cost of a project and says..."You will make a profit, or break even, charging customers (fill in blank for $$) IF you charge everyone the same.

Trouble I see, is that our Governments spend ALL these dollars on boondoggles like the Light Rail system and never charge the actual costs to the users...the whole thing, like what has gone on with Dow Constantine and the ferries, needs to be thrown out and re-tooled.

Of course every liberal lunatic gets upset, if they don't get their goodies for free...that would be unfair...what the hell was I thinking??

Posted by: Steve on November 14, 2010 12:53 PM
38. Typical left. Cut the *most* essential services and give more money to the luxury stuff. All staffed by lefties of course. I already assume these days anyone working at the DMV/library is a raging lefty.

Posted by: Crusader on November 14, 2010 01:30 PM
39. ... self-righteous-sounding trolls come in here and criticize those of us who are financially holding up this state already with tons of taxes ...

If you "live in unincorporated KC", you probably pay less taxes than I do, living in Seattle. Furthermore, some of my taxes pay for your police protection; we don't see much in the way of county law enforcement in the city (nor should we; we tax ourselves to pay for our own law enforcement). Please stop sounding so self-righteous with MY money. (BTW, did you vote on the aforementioned recent county levy? I voted for it.)

... that it would make SO much sense for the Government to be in whatever support/business role it chooses...SO LONG AS IT MAKES MONEY...

All of our roads are going to be built and maintained exclusively with fuel taxes and tolls? Great! Me and my bicycle are tired of paying for freeways we NEVER use, and when I do drive, I would appreciate having far less traffic out there. Let me know when you've filed your Initiative; I want to sign.

I rather expect that Michele knows how to handle a firearm. Someone like scottd, maybe not so much.

Bill, thanks for validating my point about cliches, above.

Posted by: tensor on November 14, 2010 01:51 PM
40. "Do you find it surprising that the county uses voter-approved taxes for the purpose they were given? "

I'm betting the majority of taxpayers don't have a clue where most of their tax dollars are going, and that there would be a serious tax revolt if they did.


"Me and my bicycle are tired of paying for freeways we NEVER use..."

You and your bicycle should be subject to licensing so as to pay your fair share of what car owners obligate to public roads.

Posted by: Saltherring on November 14, 2010 02:50 PM
41. lol, tensor, you should be very glad you're not a business owner forced to cough up thousands in B&O and personal property tax (did you even know that one existed??) PLUS all the sales, Real estate and other taxes everyone pays who aren't business owners. You really have no idea what other people are paying to the state that you aren't. No idea at all. It's amusing to hear you talk about someone else being self-righteous with "your" money. Many of us just wish you would stop criticizing the ones who are doing most of the pulling of the wagon while you whine. Truly.

Posted by: Michele on November 14, 2010 03:05 PM
42. Btw, speaking of government lunacy, nodding toward Tim's comment at #35, it is even more jaw-dropping to note that the number of exemptions from Obamacare being granted by Obama's administration is now up to 111---and guess what??? Remember all those unions who wanted obamacare?? Many of them have asked for exemptions and received them!! Just look at the list and see it peppered with union organizations. Whoa hey---things are gonna get even worse for President Obama. Way worse. This is just plain intolerable to the american people. You think people are angry? It's just getting started...

Posted by: Michele on November 14, 2010 03:15 PM
43. I'm betting the majority of taxpayers don't have a clue where most of their tax dollars are going, and that there would be a serious tax revolt if they did.

I'm betting you don't like the results of local elections, like the one which created the King County parks we've been discussing here, and you're thinking violence would be an acceptable substitute for winning elections.

But getting an accusation of ignorance from this site is truly priceless. Please keep bringing the laughs!

You and your bicycle should be subject to licensing so as to pay your fair share of what car owners obligate to public roads.

Of course. The licensing fee should be in proportion to the amount of degradation the vehicle causes to the road surface, a number proportional to the vehicle's weight; the speed of the vehicle may raise the level of degradation as well, so higher-speed vehicles should pay more than slower ones. I'll happily pay my $5 per annum for every SUV owner who pays thousands.

lol, tensor, you should be very glad you're not a business owner forced to cough up thousands in B&O and personal property tax (did you even know that one existed??)

Yes, I used to work for a small engineering & manufacturing firm. The B&O tax is very onerous on our local businesses; that's why we liberals want a better tax structure, including (holds nose) a state income tax.

You really have no idea what other people are paying to the state that you aren't. No idea at all. It's amusing to hear you talk about someone else being self-righteous with "your" money. Many of us just wish you would stop criticizing the ones who are doing most of the pulling of the wagon while you whine. Truly.

Again, you really have no idea how funny an accusation of ignorance is when it comes from this site! I really appreciate your topping it with truly exquisite bitterness, even for a site dedicated to whining about Thanksgiving messages(!). Brava, I guess.

Now, again, did you vote for the recent King County levy, the one I voted for, the one intended to maintain government services more relevant to you than me? Because I voted to increase my tax burden on your behalf, and I notice you have yet to thank me for it. (Typical modern conservative values on display, right there.)

Posted by: tensor on November 14, 2010 03:37 PM
44. #43: Need you ask? of course I would not vote for the sales tax increase, due to all the legitimate reasons aforementioned. When they are provably and deliberately wasting millions that don't need to be wasted, of course you don't reward that. I gave the state a break and voted to keep candy taxes even it has unfairness to flour-less candymakers, but there weren't as many of us who thought it should remain, so of course it lost.
and lol, tensor, our current tax burden surely eclipses anything you might have paid extra had the sales tax increase happened. You have no idea.
And interestingly, on the comments section of a Times article on the sales tax increase, many self-identified liberals were furious about the proposed tax increase after learning behind-the-scenes info about the state of county salaries etc., which was fascinating to observe.

Posted by: Michele on November 14, 2010 04:02 PM
45. Btw, this state AND county absolutely need to start an "I want to pay more" fund, for all the taxpayers who think they are not paying enough (think Bill Gates Sr. and all his friends, and apparently tensor who wants to pay more in taxes because he probably isn't paying much to begin with, unlike all the small business owners who post here). This way, we could give an opportunity for those who truly feel they aren't paying enough---no matter what their annual earnings may be---a chance to pay more. The $$ would go into a fund with the name of the individual paying listed, along with the amount given. This would be a huge boon for Gates Sr. and his friends.

Posted by: Michele on November 14, 2010 04:17 PM
46. "our current tax burden surely eclipses anything you might have paid extra had the sales tax increase happened."

We're 35th out of 50 in state/local tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation. Now that doesn't mean that this particular tax should have gone through (I favored the plan by some on the Council that would have re-purposed those dedicated taxes and kept the overall rate the same). However, to say we're overtaxed in Washington compared to other states simply isn't backed up the facts.

Posted by: kb on November 14, 2010 04:19 PM
47. #46: What you're unaware of is that I'm comparing "our" as in my family's tax burden to what tensor is likely paying. k?

Posted by: Michele on November 14, 2010 05:03 PM
48. #36: That last sentence of your comment is becoming ever more loud and clear to the citizens.

Posted by: Michele on November 14, 2010 05:08 PM
49. kb,

Nice "cherry pick"... Take a look at the Tax Freedom Day for the State of WA when you factor in all the taxes paid. We're #5, only Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York eclipse Washington in terms of total tax load born by the people of this state.

Yes, even California has an earlier Tax Freedom Day than Washington. We're in the bottom 10%.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 14, 2010 07:19 PM
50. 49: How is that cherry-picking? The Tax Freedom Day includes federal taxes, and as the Tax Foundation says:

"Connecticut celebrates last on April 27, the 117th day of the year, because income per capita is higher than in any other state. High-income states pay much more in federal taxes, and they often have higher state-local taxes as well."

So, as we have a lot of high earners in this state, of course our "freedom day" is going to be later. But since every American is (supposed) to pay the feds, for a true apple-to-apple comparison, you have to look specifically at the local/state burden, and we are far back in the pack.

Posted by: kb on November 14, 2010 07:28 PM
51. Don't forget that because we have a sales tax - rather than an income tax - we also pay more as well, combined. We don't get to deduct as much and that will skew the numbers in your favor.

Basically other States you pay an income tax, but you get to reduce your Federal income tax payments.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 14, 2010 09:32 PM
52. Don't forget that because we have a sales tax - rather than an income tax - we also pay more as well, combined. We don't get to deduct as much and that will skew the numbers in your favor.

You're confused, Dan.

Thanks in part to Maria Cantwell, federal taxpayers can deduct sales taxes paid, or state income taxes, but not both. So if we consider three individuals who each pay the same amount in combined sales or state income taxes, the individuals from states with only an income tax or only a sales tax get the same federal tax deduction. The individual from a state with both gets less of a deduction because he can only deduct part of the taxes he paid.

Posted by: scottd on November 15, 2010 06:57 AM
53. What you're unaware of is that I'm comparing "our" as in my family's tax burden to what tensor is likely paying. k?

You have no idea of what I pay in taxes; you're just going with cliches in place of facts, like Jim did in the post. The fact remains that urban areas subsidize rural areas in this country, with some amusing results -- Alaska is a major net recipient of federal dollars -- and the state government in Olympia is a mechanism for sending money east of the Cascades. The chances that you're getting more than you pay for -- like police services you refused to pay for -- is much, much higher in your case than in mine, simply based on where we each chose to live.

And, they have just committed the county to buying land for a new park, in a location where you won't find many poor people.

... least the county is spending $36M to buy a gravel pit on Maury Island to turn into a park. Of course, we don't have money to run the parks we already have, but what the heck... Idiots.

Yeah, what kind of moron would build a park in an old rock quarry? That would never work, especially not on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

So, we have two groups of citizens referenced in this post. One identified an opportunity to create a new park, banded together to raise some funds, and helped our local government improve our community. The other wants government services they refused to pay for. I agree that one such group of citizens should be admired, and the other group condemned; it just so happens that my judgement of who receives which treatment is diametrically opposed to Jim's judgement.

And I am, as usual, very proud to note that difference.

Posted by: tensor on November 15, 2010 02:23 PM
54. scottd,

No, I'm not confused, but your reading comprehension is definitely lacking. Note the words I used "We don't get to deduct as much" - emphasis added. You like ignoring words, don't you?

Consider that WA is the FIFTH highest taxed per capita, based upon the tax freedom day. Yeah, the mantra is "income taxes do it because we earn so much!" but we're only 11th in terms of income per capita.

How does WA get 5th place in tax freedom day with an 11th place per-capita income, and CA gets a 7th place tax freedom day with a 9th place per-capita income?

CA has less tax load AND more income, per capita. Why is that?

It's because we actually PAY MORE TAX per person, and it's not just from income taxes. Our tax load is higher, demonstrably so. Maria Cantwell's attempts to correct notwithstanding - they haven't fixed the problem.

WA State is highly taxed; the reason there's a budget crunch and threats to cut essential services (police/fire) is because State's spending is out of whack and balance. An 80% increase in spending over the last decade, while population and inflation have gone up just 40%.

But we need to beautify the parks, we need to add copper salmon to the freeways, we need that 1% of the arts. Doesn't matter if it's not safe to walk the park, drive the freeway, or visit the art - we must pay anyway!

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 15, 2010 06:52 PM
55. But we need to beautify the parks...

For which King County's voters gave their assent. As the link Jim provided recounts, concerned citizens contributed their own time and effort to this, on the Maury Island effort.

What part of "civic responsibility by local citizens" do you not understand?

Posted by: tensor on November 15, 2010 07:03 PM
56. No, I'm not confused, but your reading comprehension is definitely lacking. Note the words I used "We don't get to deduct as much" - emphasis added. You like ignoring words, don't you?

I take it back. You're not confused -- you're just an idiot.

You've tried to make two contradictory points. You claimed that Washington state taxes are exceptionally high -- in other words, we pay more in state taxes than other states. Then you claimed "We don't get to deduct as much" from federal income taxes.

Washington state taxes are paid as property tax and sales tax. Both of these taxes are fully deductible from federal taxable income. So how is it possible for us to pay more in taxes while being able to deduct less?

I'm starting to understand why you had such a hard time keeping your tax account straight before your business failed in this state.


Posted by: scottd on November 15, 2010 08:59 PM
57. but we're only 11th in terms of income per capita.

Speaking of problems with reading comprehension, the link you provided does not support this claim. It does not state that Washington is 11th in terms of per capita income. It lists Washington as 11th in median household income, but it doesn't say anything about median household taxation. If you want to talk about relative tax loads vs relative income, you have to find figures that measure tax load vs income for similar units -- in other words, you need to look at either household income vs household taxes, or per capita income vs. per capita taxes.

From the Tax Foundation (2008):

per capita total state and local taxes / per capita income = ratio

CA $5028 / $47706 = 10.5%

WA $4334 / $48575 = 8.9%

From Dan:

CA has less tax load AND more income, per capita. Why is that?

Because it isn't -- you don't know what you're talking about. CA has more taxes per capita and lower income than WA. Pretty much the opposite of what you said.

Posted by: scottd on November 15, 2010 09:21 PM
58. Scottd,

Apparently you can't follow basic logic, so you shout invectives.

This is REALLY REALLY simple. Tax freedom day for WA is AFTER tax freedom day for CA. Thus we work more days to pay our tax load than CA does.

The average income in CA is higher than the average income in WA.

Sorry, you can try to slice-and-dice however you want, but the fact is crystal clear; those two statements mean ABSOLUTELY that we pay a higher total tax percent for a given income level than other States.

Simple, really, if you just take it at face value and not through a twisted view of the world...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 15, 2010 11:57 PM
59. The average income in CA is higher than the average income in WA.

Now that is REALLY REALLY sad.

Per capita income in CA was $47706 in 2008. In WA it was $48575. 47706 is less than 48575. I can't make it any simpler than that.

If you can't understand the difference between "greater than" and "less than", there's not much we can discuss.

Posted by: scottd on November 16, 2010 12:53 AM
60. #56: scottd, there IS NO sales tax deduction in 2010 right now. (unless congress changes that, but it's a democrat congress so that's highly unlikely, but who knows).

Posted by: Michele on November 16, 2010 11:05 AM
61. But, back to topic, Bill, Michele, and S. Dan: what do you think of a public-sector union which insists upon pay raises in a time of low inflation and high unemployment?

Posted by: tensor on November 16, 2010 10:18 PM
62. scottd,

You're wrong. Income per capita in CA is higher than WA.

Face it - WA citizens pays higher taxes per capita than CA. We have a later tax freedom day - meaning we each have to work longer before we've paid our "fair share" of taxes.

Facts prove you wrong scottd...

tensor @ 61,

Are they still in an existing contract, or negotiating a new one? If it's an existing contract, well, a promise is a promise and it was obviously short-sighted of the County to agree to long-term, high-raise contract - time to vote out the incompetents on the County board!

If it's a new contract being negotiated, then it's entirely unacceptable.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 17, 2010 12:50 AM
63. Every single union that works with the county besides the sheriff's union has agreed to give up negotiated pay raises or COLA. Yes, the county does have a legal obligation to increase pay if the union insists, but the county has no obligation to pay for deputies it cannot afford so there will be layoffs.

"Tax freedom day" is a stupid and meaningless statistic. Taxes are not levied equally across incomes and there is no such thing as someone who makes the per capita income and pays per capita tax revenue to the state.

Posted by: John Jensen on November 17, 2010 04:06 PM
64. John,

Tax Freedom day is a great way to compare the effective total per-capita tax load for each State. You know how many days you're working to pay off your local, State, and Federal taxes. How is that stupid and meaningless, other than it shows Washington State in a pretty bad light?

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on November 19, 2010 08:32 AM
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