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Lake Stevens Journal
Lake Stevens, Washington
April 13, 2011     Lake Stevens Journal
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April 13, 2011
 

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Page 2 1A tax by any other name... W m C. Will I PRES. ASSOC. 0F WA BUSINESS Washington voters have made it more difficult for state lawmakers to hike taxes by requiring a two-thirds majority to do so. The legislature’s response? Increase fees, instead. Gov. Gregoire has ordered state agencies to cut their budgets and streamline their operations, saying, “State government cannot conduct business as usual." But instead, some agencies want to offset their agency’s budget cuts with higher fees. Fee hikes require only a simple majority vote in the Legislature. As a result, law- makers are considering $350 million to $450 million in new fees to help plug the budget gap. But that’s not what fees are for. By defini- tion, fees are charged to offset the cost of a specific government program or service provided in return for that fee. Hiking fees to replace money from the general fund is a tax by any other name. - Calling a tax a fee doesn’t make it so. In fact, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen has ruled that, “Calling something a fee when there is no nexus between its collection and how it is to be spent does not make it a fee. . . . Failing this, it is a tax, and a superrnajority vote is required." ’I'hegovemorhas called on state agencies to reform, and opportunities for reform abound. For example, one of the major costs for Washington employers is the overlapping and often contradictory layers of federal, state and local regulations and permits covering the same issue. Even regulations among state agencies often overlap, forcing companies to file two or three sets of differ- ent paperwork or studies and pay multiple fees for the same thing. But no one is addressing this problem in a meaningful way. Instead, some bureau- crats and legislators just want to increase the fees for these duplicative permits. Case in point: streams in forests. Cur- rently, ,an applicant must file separate permits with two different state agencies to install a fish-passable culvert on private { timber land. The permit for the Depart- ment of Natural Resources (DNR) is highly detailed and covers a broad range of pro— tections. A similar permit for the Depart- ment of Fish and Midlife (DFW) is less specific, more general in scope. The DNR permit covers everything re- quired by the DFW permit — and more. GUESTI EDITORIAL Do we really need both? Is it really neces- sary that property owners file two sets of paperwork, pay two fees and support two sets of public employees to accomplish the same thing? - Another example: the State Department of Ecology (DOE). ‘ DOE wants to increase fees for process- ing water rights permits. But the agency currently has a backlog of some 7,000 pending applications, half of which have lain untouched for 10-20 years. Of that number, the agency staff has processed about 370 applications over the past two years. Essentially, DOE wants permit ap— plicants to pay more money, but receive no change in service level for the additional cost. That is not reform. Fee hikes are simply an attempt to avoid necessary reforms, backfill budget cuts and circumvent the two-thirds majority requirement to raise taxes. Why should the general public care? Because added costs reduce jobs. And that’s the last thing we should do as our businesses struggle to emerge from the recessron. For example, HB 2008, sponsored by Rep. Hans Dunshee, D—Snohomish, would increase fees on the timber industry Sierra Pacific Industries has already laid off 1,000 employees to cut costs to remain competi- Lake Stevens JournaIApril 13, 2011 tive, and company officials say Dunshee’s bill would further add to the size of govem- ment and increase fees by 12 times. Repre- sentatives of private forest owner Merrill & Ring said it had also outcasts, and it would be nice “if the state government would do the same thing." Exactly. The governor has raised ex- pectations that state government will be transformed. It will be more efficient and streamlined. The pemiitu'ng process will be easier for all of us to navigate, and we won't have to weave our way through the regulatory maze and pay a toll at everytum in theroad. - She has veto power and ought to insist the Legislature and state agencies comply with the intent of her transforming state government initiative. About the Author:Don Brunell is the presidentof the Association ofWashington ' Business. Formed in 904, theAssociation of Washington Business is Washingtonis oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,350 members representing 650,000employees.AWB serves asboth thestate's chamberofcommerce and the manufacturingand technologyassocia- tion. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsofland Weyer- haeuser, 90 percentofAWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWBis members employ fewer than 10. For, more aboutAWB, visit wwwawborg. YOUR LETTERS ‘ lSHS student volunteers made auction a success Dear Editor, Thankyou to the amazing LSHS students who rocked their volunteer duties for the March 26 LSHS GradNightAuction (donat- ing art, helping with decorations, and/ or volunteering the night of the event) to help make it a success. Your energy, willingness, and “Viking Pride” made it a very special night. Tucker Hudspeth, Tatiana Boyles , Alex 'IWeedie, Ashley Graeber, Bre Rinear, Bri Cline, Cody Shatter, Ian Anderson, Jona- I W201]. Editorial Policy The editorial philosophy of the Lake Ste- vens journal is to provide informative and entertaining stories about the people, events , and issues of our community. The journal reserves the right to edit all submitted mierial, whether news or edito rial, for content, grammar, taste, slyle or length to best serve the paper and the corn- munify. Submitted items are published at r lhejourr‘lal’s discretion and reflect solely the , opinion of the author and are not necessar- ily the opinion of the Journal or its staff. tellers to the editor are welcomed and must be less than 300 words. Include a ' signature, address and daytime phone number for verification. Published letters will include the’lellerwriler’s name and city of residence. Anonymous letters and letters to third parties are not accepted. I No advertisements, columns, letters to the editor or other'informalion will be published I that contain discriminationbased on sex, color, creed, race, religion, national origin, age, sexual preference; or which are simply in bad taste. more.me inn Your hometown newspaper since than Lemieux, Josh Berg, Kyle Daggett, Megan Home, Mikey Kemp, Page Moore, Rebecca Alewine, Ricky Kemp, Sara Bing- ham, Sarah Bliven, Stephanie Myers, Syd- ney Gellerson, Alicia Berlin, Dylan Boyce, , Cassie Davis, Kayle Gallagher, Jessica Lep- tich, Samantha Whalen, Brooke Dalgieish, Jessica Cornell, Florence Arias, Rosemary Reyes, Jasmine Rommel, Emily Bainey and John Gleason. LSHS Grad Night " Auction Committee I Gounod Us ‘ The Lake Stevens Journal PO Box 896 0 WC? Main Street lake Stevens, WA 98258 425-334-9252 Fax 425-334-9239 mickeslevensjournglcom President and Publisher Desiree Cahoon Co—Publisher Pam Stevens News: Deadline Thursday at pm. email news©lokesrevensjournalcom Managing Editor Pam Stevens Nina Lawrence Deadline Thursday at 5 pm. email adsOlakesievensJournolcom Ari Director/Graphics Shane Kanlzor Graphic Designer Kolcoy Hatch Classifieds: Deadline Monday at TD am. Call 425-3 349252 or email clossifieds©lakeslevensiournol.com Classifieds/Calendar Michelle Templeton OffiooNanoger/Acownfing Leah HughesAnderson Distribmion: Distribution Manager/ lorry Roll ., Distributed every Wednesday via US Mail to the greater Lake Stevens and Granite Falls communities. " Subscriptions: Within Snohomish County: $47 year, . $42/ senior citizens. Outside Snohomish County: ' $60/ year, $50/ senior citizens. YOUR LETTERS Students ask for help to support fellow student. Dear Editor, Kayla Healy, a student at Jackson High, needs a double lung transplant. Kayla, 17, has lived with Cystic Fibrosis her whole life, but recently she learned that her disease has progressed to the point where her life expectancy can be measured in months, rather than in years. The estimated out-of-pocket cost of the operation, not covered by insurance, is $100,000. It was after the Local Association of Student Councils, a meeting of the school presidents, learned of this that we decided we wanted to do everything we could to help save Kayla. This is what gave us the idea to hold a WESCO charity talent show. Fifteen WESCO high schools have been collaborating for several months in order to put on a public, district-wide charity talent show which will be held 7 pm. on April 22 at the Everett Civic Auditorium. This represents an opportunity to see high schools from acrossWestemWashing- ton coming together cooperatively, rather than competitively More importantly though, it is a chance to see the community come together to help Kayla. We hope to raise $20,000 to help offset the, cost efher Opel-"arisen: The talent shiiw will consist of over 20 acts by high school students from around the district. Tickets are $5 at the door, and the win- ning act will be the performer who raises the most money for Kayla during'the dona— tion period after the show. We need your help to meet our geal. By coming to the show and donating to the act of your choice, you can help to save Kayla. You can read more about Kayla at http:// www.cotaforkaylahcom. All funds will be handled through the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). Thank you from the Presidents of: Cascade, Edmonds-Woodway, Everett, Glacier Peak, Jackson, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Mariner, Marysville—Getch— ell, Marysville-Pilchuck, Meadowdale, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, and Snohomish High Schools ADOPT PET THIS Noah Animal Adoption Center 360-629-7055, 31300 Brandstrom Rd Stanwood Sumpie is a beautiful tabby kitty with some white. She has a gorgeous medium length coat and would love to play beauty shop and get her hair brushed. She is a lovely girl who enjoys spending her time laying on laps and in sunny windows. And did i mention her beautiful eyes, and her short little stumpie tail?.... you better come and see for yourself! FOR ALL YOUR PET'S NEEDS ' Snohomish Station Snohomish 425-322-4012 h