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Care To Pay More Taxes

Editorial for May 5, 2011

Results for the April 26 special election confirmed what we already suspected: This is just not a good time to go to the voters and ask for more help -- that is, contribute more in taxes -- for new projects, no matter how important and beneficial the projects might be.

Last week, voters in the White Salmon area and in the Goldendale area weighed in on two big measures. In the White Salmon area, the question was whether citizens would support a levy lid lift requested by Hospital District No. 2, Skyline Hospital.

The hospital requested for approval of voters living within the Skyline Hospital district's boundaries to add seven more cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation for 2012 and 2013. The added seven cents would have brought the total property tax levy for residents in the district to 35 cents per $1,000.

Voters emphatically rejected the measure, which would have paid for a new system of electronic record-keeping, as well as expansion of Skyline's surgery suites. The margin was a bit surprising, with more than 54 percent voting against the proposal.

In the Goldendale area, voters were asked to approve $32 million worth of general obligation bonds to build a new high school, renovate Goldendale Middle School, and make capital improvements at other facilities within the Goldendale School District.

The result there was not even close: Voters rejected the school district's appeals by an astonishing 74 percent, with only about 25 percent supporting it. It was a thrashing.

With margins like that, it cannot give the school district -- or the hospital district, for that matter -- much hope that if they come back to the voters again in a few months that the result will be any different. People feel tapped out financially as it is, and this is no time to be asking for more.

Whether this is a temporary phenomenon or the sign of a long-lasting anti-tax revolution in Klickitat County remains to be seen, but one thing is completely clear: The voters have spoken. Loudly.

JB

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