07/11/2012: "-- Guest Column --"
By Randy Gaylord
Your County Council has unanimously approved an ordinance supported by judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, clerks and Town of Friday Harbor officials for a local sales tax with proceeds to be used for criminal justice and public safety purpose. Please join us me in voting for this in the August Primary election.
There are three aspects of this measure that are appealing. First, it is a modest change to the sales tax … just three tenths of one percent - 0 cents on a hundred dollar purchase, $15.00 on $5,000 of purchases. Most groceries, drugs and autos are excluded.
Second, the price is paid by visitors and residents. It is a way of diversifying the revenue sharing the costs of providing services in this community to the people who benefit from the services.
Third, the money is directed to the fairness of how we treat our people- to the sheriff, the prosecutor, public defense and the courts. Our preference for these services defines the good standard of living and way of life in this community. Our approach to law enforcement brings value to property owners and visitors alike.
There has been no rush to adopt the public safety sales tax. It is a tax that was authorized in 2003. Nearly a decade has passed and during that time County leaders have cut budgets and used other ways to pay for law and justice services. It’s time to bring stability to our law enforcement and courts. Please vote Yes!
(//Randall Gaylord is the San Juan County Prosecuting Attorney//)