Letters: Taxes, Senate, and a response


Last updated 2/28/2018 at Noon

Senate Bill 6617

I am very disappointed to see that each of the three politicians that represent my district in Olympia (Sen. Marko Liias, Rep. Strom Peterson and Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self) voted for Senate Bill 6617 to exempt themselves from the publicly mandated public records disclosure act.

And to have the bill marked as an “emergency" so that it cannot be repealed through a referendum vote is even more appalling.

Is it any wonder that more and more Americans are choosing not to vote, since we seem to have so little say in what the people who in theory represent us are doing in Olympia? I guess the voters of Washington can only hope the courts see through this sham and take the appropriate action.

Neal Steik


Thoughts on property taxes

Like many people in Snohomish County, I received quite a shock when I recently opened a letter from the Snohomish County Treasury.

When I bought my house in Harbour Pointe in the 90s, I agreed to pay a reasonable amount of property taxes.

Fast-forward to today, and my property taxes have nearly doubled.

This is neither reasonable nor acceptable, nor is it sustainable.

We need to elect people who understand fiscal responsibility.

We need to learn to accept less from our local and state governments, not more.

I would have thought that the additional tax revenue from marijuana sales would have caused my property taxes to go down, not up.

Where is all this money going?

Anthony Sarno


Response to past letter

This is in reference to the Jan. 31 letter titled “Thoughts on minimum wage.”

Gunner Unneland’s continuing efforts to argue for abolishing the mandatory minimum wage is both humorous and tragic, somewhat like a Shakespearian tragicomedy.

A Federal Reserve study found that boosting the minimum wage to $9 an hour would increase household spending by roughly $48 billion.

Mr. Unneland and the financial/political elites of our day do not acknowledge this and has tragic results for millions of people.

In November, Mr. Unneland pointed to Hong Kong as an example of how this would work. I pointed out that Hong Kong has been experiencing soaring homelessness but that at least Hong Kong provides health care to its people.

So now Mr. Unneland points to Scandinavia as a shining example of how a free market of labor works.

“Scandinavia” is a rather imprecise term, often meaning Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, but other times including Finland and Iceland.

Let’s look at some other aspects of the “Scandinavian” system, which Mr. Unneland calls socialist.

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland all have mandatory paid vacation time of five weeks. The US has none,

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland all have tuition-free or nearly free college.

Additionally, college in some of these countries is greatly discounted or virtually free for international students.

For example, an American student can study in Iceland for nearly a $600 yearly registration fee.

BusinessInsider.com on Dec. 6, 2017 published “8 reasons Finland’s educational system puts the US to shame.”

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland all have health care for all.

The details vary, but none of these countries have people without access to health care like we do.

For health care on a per-capita basic, Norway spends 67 percent of what the US does and Sweden spends 56 percent.

Furthermore, the infant mortality rate in the US is over twice that of all of these countries, with the exception of Denmark.

Because not everyone in the US has disease management, the cook at your favorite restaurant may well be preparing your food while having the flu.

Mr. Unneland’s letter is long on imprecise and emotion-laden terms and is short on details.

Perhaps he’d support making vacations, health care and free college education mandatory to support his Scandinavian ideals.

Arnie Knudson



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