What is wrong with our state legislators? They cannot adequately fund our schools as legally mandated. They cannot adequately fund needed roadway infrastructure and transit. They cannot adequately fund social services for the surging homeless populations in our region. They cannot adequately fund law enforcement and health care to deal with said populations. The worst fire season in history has taken a costly toll on state coffers. Our regional ecosystem and preserved areas are consistently short funded.
Nevertheless, Sam Hunt, Derek Kilmer, Bruce Dammier, Pam Roach, Former Governor John Spellman, Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and a host of others want to “rent” pandas from China to the tune of $10 million over a 10-year period. This amount does not include funding for the zoo of choice for habitat structure, staff training, and feeding of said pandas.
Before committing enormous outlay of tax dollars for pandas, let’s ensure that our education system is well funded and meets legal requirements. Let’s adequately take care of our own regional ecosystem. Let’s adequately fund regional homeless projects. Let’s adequately fund regional law enforcement and health care systems. Let’s ensure that adequate funds are set aside for future fire seasons. Let’s adequately fund state highway and transit systems.
Washington tax dollars should be used for in-state needs, not international conservation projects. Surely Washington’s friendship with China can be honored in a less wasteful manner in restrictive financial times.