Friday, January 29, 2010

20,000 No's on Taxes

by Amber Gunn

More than 20,000 citizens signed a petition to legislators asking them to balance the budget within existing revenues. Today, 20 concerned taxpayers and representatives of EFF, including CEO Lynn Harsh and myself, presented the signatures in person to Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. Or rather, we would have if they had made time to meet us. Unfortunately Speaker Chopp was “in a meeting” and Senator Brown was M.I.A. entirely. We called and emailed her office but received no responses from her staff.

So we did the best we could, and left the signatures with their legislative aides.

We collected the 20,000+ signatures in a 15-day petition drive. The idea came after more than 80 organizations and labor unions turned in 14,000 names of people who support what they call a “progressive” approach to balancing the budget, which includes increased taxes and fees. Leaders of this coalition were eagerly greeted by Governor Gregoire, Speaker Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Brown on the first day of session.

It sends a pretty clear message when the governor, senate majority leader and speaker go out of their way to meet with tax hikers on the first day of session, but won’t give concerned taxpayers the same courtesy. If they really wanted to, they could have made time. Obviously it wasn’t a priority.

The mantra of the left-wing coalition is “Cuts Not Kids,” but the reality is that truly protecting our kids, our jobs, our health and our environment means we must stop borrowing against the next generation and hobbling the productivity of the private sector. Why should our kids be bogged down under inherited debt from spending that lawmakers refused to get under control?

We’re never going to get out of this mess if government, which has none of its own money, continues to take more from the people who need it to create jobs, build solutions and meet pressing human needs.

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