Income tax looks attractive now
We just received our 2011 tax bill. The actual tax (not the property valuation) increased by 9.7 percent from 2010. This is on top of a 16.1 percent increase in 2010 from 2009.
These increases are not sustainable. Although there have been some years when the tax has not increased, on average the tax is doubling every 10 years.
I don’t know how seniors on fixed incomes can afford to stay in their homes.
I think that an income tax on the very wealthy might have been preferable to forcing people to sell their homes.
DAVID COOK, Olympia
Stop reckless behavior by bicyclists, too
The Legislature is currently considering bills (SB 5326 and HB 1339) to make it safer for cyclists on the road by fining car drivers who drive recklessly around vulnerable vehicles such as cyclists. But these bills need to include cyclists’ behavior on the road, not just the behavior of the car drivers.
Have you ever witnessed a cyclist making unexpected moves maneuvering through traffic?
Have you ever nervously watched a cyclist go sailing along several lanes, run a red light, ignore a stop sign, snake up the center strip or suddenly leave the flow of traffic to use a crosswalk or sidewalk to avoid stopping? Just because a bicycle can maneuver easily doesn’t mean that it is safe for the cyclist to do so.
It is hard to know what to expect from some cyclists and they travel anonymously.
Cyclists should be required to pass a written test to show they know the rules of the road and should pay for a license. A license number needs to be on their helmets and large enough to be visible so other motorists can report risky behavior when it endangers them.
The best way cyclists can be safer on the road is to ensure that they know the rules of the road and can be identified and fined when they do not follow them.
SHEILA GRIFFITH, Olympia
Rep. Herrera Beutler is part of war on women
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler ran as a small-government, fiscal conservative. Her campaign website says she’s “independent.” But, she’s not so independent when it comes to voting the Republican party line in Congress. She voted with the party to eliminate support for Title X, the federal family planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In the absence of Title X’s preventive care, some women would die. The Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health, says a rise in unintended pregnancies would result in some 400,000 more abortions a year.
The New York Times says the House Republicans have mounted a war on women. Rep. Herrera doesn’t have to march along in this army. Instead of being a follower on the Republican Party’s attack on women’s reproductive rights and access to essential health care, she should exercise some independence and stand up for the women of Southwest Washington that rely on Planned Parenthood.
AMY CREWDSON, Olympia
Shopkeepers should have removed snow from sidewalks
This letter is more observation then opinion.
I attended the rally in support of Wisconsin workers Feb. 26. I parked downtown near the bus station and walked up Capitol Way to our statehouse grounds.
The interesting observation was the overwhelming lack of sidewalk clearing. I witnessed six or seven people falling on icy public walks.
Most surprising were the uncleared, iced up walks in front of The Olympia Inn, the Evergreen Plaza, and The Governors House.
If I were a storekeeper or manager of a heavily visited building in downtown Olympia I’d sure think to keep my customers, my employees and the general public safe by keeping my portion of the sidewalks clean and clear of hazards all year round.
DENNIS MULLIKIN, Olympia
We must not attempt to rewrite history
Recently I heard that Mark Twain’s book “Huckleberry Finn” was going to be rewritten to exclude the word slave and I imagine similar words as well.
I am appalled at the thought of people trying to sanitize history. Yes there was slavery in this country at one time and nothing that anyone can say or do will change that fact — anymore than we can change the Holocaust suffered by the Jews in Germany or the Japanese internment camps.
I would hope that history would be something that we could learn from and not repeat but if it is erased then how can we learn from it?
The one question I have is where does it end? Do people plan on taking the word “slave” out of every book and document? That should include history books, many great novels, historical books and documents and let us not forget the Bible.
BONNIE LINDSEY, Rochester
Olympia bills residents for false alarms
I question why it is Olympia bills citizens for police protection.
In July while out of state I received a call from my alarm company. The alarm had been set off, should they call the Olympia Police Department?
Being many miles away, my response was “yes.”
Now I receive a bill from the city because OPD was dispatched to my home and they found nothing. Is it not the job of the Olympia Police to respond to a home when there is the possibility a crime is being committed? Do we not pay very high taxes for this protection and right?
In a phone call to the billing company, which by the way is in Colorado, (why is Olympia using a company in Colorado and not using in house employees?), I was told it was a false alarm, therefore I needed to pay.
This is outrageous. Only once before has my alarm gone off and that time it took OPD over an hour to respond. No wonder there was no one there this time, by the time of OPD’s response, they have heard the alarm and they get the heck out of Dodge.
The first time when I questioned the responding officer why it took so long, I was told that responding to a home alarm is not a priority. Well you know someone could be “being killed” or raped. Why do we pay taxes for police protection, if when we need to have police response we are billed extra for that response?
DIANA PARKISON, Olympia
America’s hypocrisy is in full view
God bless America. And Egypt. And Iraq and Afghanistan and maybe Pakistan. And Brazil and Chile. But not Venezuela, Iran, North Korea or Cuba.
Why? Because they won’t do what we want them to.
Oh you might hear that the governments of those countries don’t treat the people who live there very nicely. Politicians like to give that as an explanation that sounds good, but it isn’t true. If it were true we wouldn’t be bending over backwards to help China or Saudi Arabia or Israel.
You see, when it comes to using God to only bless those people we like, we Americans are pretty darn good at it. You see, we’ve been at it since the beginning of this country.
God bless the Puritans, but not the heathens.
God bless the Christians, but not the pagans.
And death to witches, God hates them all.
The only country that can out-do America with the God blessing chant is Great Britain. Over there they say, “God Save the Queen.” I guess everyone else is on their own.
And now, if you would all stand for the Pledge of Allegiance — (yada, yada, yada ... “one nation, under God.” I’m sure we even have a better flag than any other country. Even Egypt.
If it makes you feel any better, think of it as a prayer. Just in case God’s listening.
TERRENCE ZANDER, Olympia
Drug take-back program needed
State legislators have the opportunity to vote yes on Senate Bill 5234, which would provide manufacturer funded, statewide medicine return programs for residents, with no cost to state or local government.
A similar British Columbia program collected 133,477 pounds in 2010. Drug manufacturer lobbyists are fighting hard against this legislation because it will cost them two cents per prescription.
Some law enforcement agencies are currently collecting medications, but their budgets are tight. Recent changes to federal regulations will allow pharmacies to collect controlled substances but it does not create or fund actual take-back programs. Drug manufacturers feel doctors or insurance companies should foot the bill but since many medications are over-the-counter, this does not make sense.
The statistics are alarming.
In 2009, three fifths of new prescription drug abusers were under 18. In Washington, 85 percent of poisoning deaths involved medicines in 2006. Medications have been found in surface, ground, and marine waters as well as soils and sediments in the Northwest.
There is seldom one solution to a problem. Medications are in our water due to excretion, drug abusers will continue to steal from medicine cabinets, and children will be accidentally poisoned. There is no reason to compound the problem with the 33 million containers of unwanted medications in Washington each year.
Learn more at www.takebackyourmeds.org. Contact your legislator before Monday’s vote deadline at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx to let them know we need this important program for our public health, public safety and the environment.
TERRI THOMAS, Union