Taxes We Pay Are An Investment in Our Future
Remy Trupin, Executive Director -- Every day I am surrounded by things that make me grateful to live and work in Washington state: breathtaking natural beauty, top-notch schools and colleges, thousands of parks, neighbors who look out for each other, and communities that pull together through good times and bad. I am mindful they don’t come easily or without shared sacrifice.
When my wife and I had a baby about a year ago, I started thinking more about how to preserve and pass on these treasures to the next generation and, hopefully, make things even better. When I ask my friends and neighbors how we do that, regardless of where they are from or their political beliefs, they all answer in a similar way. They want our public schools remain strong, give everyone an opportunity to go to college or get technical training, create an environment where good jobs are plentiful, and provide safe and secure homes and communities.
But at the same time, they doubt whether all of this is still possible. Despite working hard and playing by the rules, they fear that they will be unable to pass on to their children the resources that gave our generation such a promising start. The last three years have seen a recession worse than any since the Great Depression and a recovery still struggling to find its footing. We are all reminded of the frailty of things we once took for granted.
Unfortunately, those same three years have seen more than $10 billion cut from the state budget. We’ve seen deep cuts services prevail over a balanced approach that would have included new revenue and avoided some of the most drastic reductions to the very resources our economy needs for a robust recovery.
All of this is good to bear in mind amid the usual rhetoric that greets us this time of year, leading up to the mid-April annual tax-filing deadline. The taxes we pay are an investment in our own future -- and that of our children. They help support all of the things we accomplish together that we cannot manage alone. Every day our lives are improved as we contribute resources to strengthen our communities, ensure our safety and security, and improve our quality of life.
Taxes ensure that textbooks are up to date and classes aren’t overcrowded; that children, the elderly and people with disabilities have access to health care; that the water we drink is safe and the air we breathe is clean; that workers are well prepared for their jobs.
The state budget is not just line items on a spreadsheet. It is about priorities and values. When we have well-educated students, highly-skilled workers, a healthy environment and well-maintained roads and bridges we have the foundations of a strong economy. Without these things, we will be a far poorer state in every way, with less and less opportunity for ourselves and future generations. Now, more than ever, we need our public resources to provide support and protection to those hardest hit by the economic downturn and to pave the way for a robust recovery.
The core mission and purpose of our government is to protect the well being of our state and its citizens. “We the People” help make that happen, by contributing through the taxes we pay, to the common good.