Letters for Feb. 24, 2023
Feb. 24, 2023 Updated Fri., Feb. 24, 2023 at 9:05 a.m.
Blame the right people
Our representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, visited the U.S.-Mexico border last week. It was billed as a fact-finding mission, but it appeared that she was testing her power as the newly appointed chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Her verdict: President Biden is to blame for the fentanyl crisis.
Yes, we have both a drug-related crisis and a humanitarian crisis on our border. Two separate issues often conflated to one. This is not new, nor debatable. I lay responsibility for our border problems on all of the senators and representatives, who for more than 30 years have paid lip service to bipartisan reform but in the end have not had the courage to put aside their egos and partisan positions to get the job for which they were elected done. Please remember this when you vote.
Repeal capital gains tax
There have been a number of guest opinions and letters recently, some in favor and some opposing the recently enacted capital gains tax. The most recent was from Andy Nicholas (“Response to capital gains op-ed,” Feb. 18), a supporter who works for the organization that drafted the bill.
Nicholas and those who are trying to preserve this tax are being disingenuous by claiming it is an “excise tax.” An excise tax is defined in the dictionary as: “A legislated tax on specific goods or services at the time they are purchased.” A gasoline tax assessed at the pump when gas is purchased is an excise tax. Capital gains taxes are taxes paid on an asset when it is sold. By every definition, this tax is an income tax. This is one good reason for repealing the tax. There is an even better one.
Historically, when an income tax is enacted, the rate always begins to inch its way up, as politicians try to grab more money for pet projects. There is also a tendency to increase the scope of the tax to include other things, such as real property. This is the one good reason why this tax needs to be repealed. A large majority of Washington residents have voted against an income tax on numerous occasions. We should continue to do so. If you do not, you may find yourself paying a tax on the gain from selling your home in a few years.
Money wasted in Ukraine
Significance of U.S. president in Ukraine?
Another half billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer funds to a foreign nation, not to secure our southern border, or other critical American needs.
Solutions require actual facts
Cathy McMorris Rodgers claims this country’s fentanyl crisis is a result of the Biden administration’s “open borders policy,” but she doesn’t provide details of that policy. Is there a document containing this policy? If so, I’d like to know where I can find it so I can read it for myself. Is she deducing the existence of such a policy based on border conditions and other factors? No one who has tried to cross into the U.S. at Nogales, Arizona, or San Ysidro, California, or passed through customs at a major airport would characterize the experience as evidence of an open border, nor would anyone who is facing a 10-year separation from family for being in the U.S. without authorization.
Neither undocumented farmworkers, a linchpin in the agricultural economy, nor the farmers and orchardists who plead with Congress to loosen restrictions on temporary agricultural visas, would characterize the U.S. as having open borders.
At the very least, it is irresponsible of someone speaking from position of power and privilege to claim that a national crisis stems from such policy, especially when the evidence, both to the claim that such a policy exists and the actual causes of the crisis, contradict those claims. Real solutions require an analysis of facts, not the promotion of a political agenda.
Complete the corridor project
Please join me in letting Gov. Jay Inslee and our other elected representatives know that we need to fully fund the completion of the North Spokane Corridor project. My mother is 90 years old, I’m 65 and my daughter is 40. A project that was conceived in the mid-1940s is still not completed. So we (yes, we all drive) represent three generations of women navigating red light after red light instead of an efficient north-south corridor to get us where we want to go. Meanwhile, we have to drive by the sections that have been completed, wondering when they will have the funding to connect them so we can actually drive on them.
How about not funding any other freeway projects on the West Side of Washington until we get our one and only North Spokane Corridor funded and completed?
HB 68 would hurt Idahoans
Have you heard of the Office of Performance Evaluation? The OPE is a true gem in the state of Idaho. For the past 30 years, this neutral and bipartisan commission has researched and delivered reports that drive major investments in areas such as health care, education, prison capacity and the child foster care system.
This valuable and effective commission has won many awards, including the 2016 Outstanding Evaluation Award from the American Evaluation Association. It promotes confidence and accountability in state government.
Some of our legislative leaders seem to be trying to pull a fast one by changing the OPE to a partisan entity though HB 68. Don’t let this happen. We need this independent commission to continue working as a nonpartisan office doing the important work of evaluating state government programs to insure they are cost efficient and effective.
Contact your state legislators and ask them to leave the Office of Performance Evaluations as it is.
HB 68 is a bad idea for Idaho and Idahoans.