The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Brady: Stay informed and involved

 

December 13, 2018



To The Eagle:

Thank you, residents of Wahkiakum County, for having allowed me to serve our community for the past 11 plus years. It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve. Congratulations commissioner elect Strong. You have taught me that knocking on doors works, see you in four years.

Rest assured that I will continue to serve our county's interests going forward. I will continue to fight for our future and offer any assistance that I can provide. This includes continuing to work on getting our timber legislation passed in Olympia as well as fighting Olympia’s continued poor treatment of the counties.

As past President of the Washington State Association of Counties (WSAC), I would like to take this opportunity to educate you regarding why WSAC is proceeding with litigation against the State of Washington. Quite simply: Olympia has been picking your pockets for years. Not directly as it sounds though. However, every time that the State of Washington requires our counties to do the state’s work while not providing adequate resources to do it (which occurs often) the counties are forced to divert funds to accomplish the new requirements. This is referred to as ‘unfunded mandates.’ The law already requires the state to fund any new and expanded programs, however, they have not fully complied with this for years.

A prime example of an unfunded mandate is Indigent Defense. Indigent Defense is a federally mandated responsibility of the state; however, the state of Washington has pushed the majority of this responsibly down to the counties and it only pays approximately 10 percent of the costs. The counties are left to foot the remainder of the bill and this ends up costing our 39 counties around $300 million plus per year.

Other examples of indiscretions coming from Olympia include the one percent property tax and the subject of Open Public Records. Counties are forced to continue to pay their bills and attempt to balance their budgets while locked into a one percent property tax increase; however, Olympia has exempted themselves from this very same rule. Tying our taxes to population growth and inflation would at least slow down the decline of revenue versus the rapidly increasing costs of providing services. Similarly, the Open Public Records laws have been abused and in need of some fixes for years to no avail, yet Olympia recently voted to exempt themselves from this very important law.

We have asked Olympia for relief for years with minimal to no results. Senators and legislators have told us that if they are not being sued; they do not hear us. The governor tells us to play hardball yet has not vetoed bills that are harmful to the 39 counties. We are forced into a corner. The vast number of our 39 counties need relief.

You will be hearing more about these topics soon. Please stay informed and involved.

Blair H. Brady

Grays River

 

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