Issaquah legislator introduces measure to eliminate some Washington counties
January 26, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 4 p.m. Jan. 26, 2011
Under a proposal offered by state Rep. Glenn Anderson, state leaders could dissolve some Washington counties for taking in more in state dollars than the counties contribute through sales tax revenue.
The measure is unlikely to emerge from the House of Representatives, or even a committee. But the proposal has started a discussion about the harsh budget reality legislators face.
Democrats from populous Western Washington counties — Seattle Rep. Reuven Carlyle and Snohomish Rep. Hans Dunshee — joined Anderson to introduce the proposed constitutional amendment.
“Washington is facing an extraordinary budget crisis just like California,” he said in a statement released Wednesday. “We must take direct action to restore fiscal sanity.”
The state faces a $4.6 billion hole in the budget for 2011-13. Evergreen State residents could face increased fees and reduced services from state agencies and larger class sizes as a result of widespread cuts.
“Of the 39 counties, six contribute 75 percent of the state’s total tax revenues,” Anderson said. “King County alone contributes 40 percent to the state’s total tax revenues, but only receives only 25 percent in state program expenditures. That means King County residents, Republicans and Democrats alike, are paying double for state programs, subsidizing much of the rest of the state. This must change.”
The counties in line for the axe under the proposal include Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Stevens, Lincoln, Garfield, Yakima and Wahkiakum. In Olympia, Republicans represent all but Wahkiakum County.
“Republicans need to be seen as getting the state ahead of our problems, not just getting back to zero,” Anderson said.
The six-term Fall City Republican has represented Issaquah and other 5th Legislative District communities in East King County since 2001.