Letters to the Editor

Tax money doesn't go to port operations

A recent letter to the editor suggested the Port of Olympia has a shaky financial situation because it receives property tax revenue. For clarification, here are some facts left out of that letter.

The Port of Olympia is a special-purpose government agency chartered by the state Legislature to ensure local citizens maintain control over port facilities. In the charter, the state Legislature granted ports taxing authority. Typically, all government organizations tax in one form or another; in this case, the port accepts property tax revenue.

A simple measure for determining port financial stability is how much of the collected tax money goes toward operations versus environmental cleanup and infrastructure investment. In the case of the Port of Olympia, zero tax money goes toward operations – including salaries and wages. All property taxes collected go toward environmental cleanup or infrastructure projects.

The East Bay redevelopment and Cascade Pole cleanup are current examples.

Port of Olympia operating revenues are setting historic highs while expenses remain stable. Port environmental cleanup and infrastructure investment will approach $16 million this year. And in 2011 as in recent years, no property tax money will be used to support port operations.

Your port responsibly uses tax money for investment that brings new family-wage jobs to Thurston County and improves the local environment. The port will continue to act in a financially responsible manner while making future vital infrastructure investments.