Press Talk: Interesting giving season

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photoLou Brancaccio

Hey, you all have a great Thanksgiving? Hope so.

So, what are we thankful for?

Thought I'd go through a few items:

Seriously, be grateful

Look, I plead guilty to having a little fun with our elected officials. Don't get me wrong, they deserve it. But I honestly believe that they honestly believe they're doing the right thing.

In the end, they're good people who believe in what they do.

As I've said to my good friend state Rep. Jim Moeller many times: "You're hopelessly lost." His response? "I'll save you a seat." I'm grateful for all of these cool cats who help us try to live our lives.

So even though I think they get it wrong quite a bit, to those who are willing to engage me when I say so, thanks for the conversation and the feedback.

Speaking of wrong ;-)

Hey, I couldn't resist, but I'm thankful for politicians who say stuff that I find quite interesting.

(Full disclosure: The word "interesting" rarely means anything, which is why so many people use it. Heck, it could mean bemusing or strange or silly. Who knows? Guess we'll never know.)

The city just raised taxes and fees on just about anything they could get their hands on. Quick, hide the children!

Without fail, a couple of my favorite lines appeared to explain the decision to get more taxes.

Here's one: "We pay taxes, too."

Councilor Jeanne Stewart delivered it.

To think that because a politician pays taxes justifies raising taxes on the rest of us is, ah, interesting.

But my favorite line? Wait for it …

"I'm dead set against it, but I've got no other choice."

That one was uttered by Councilor Bill Turlay.

Turlay, you might recall, was recently swept into office because he was, ah, strongly in favor of keeping a lid on spending.

So much for that election pitch.

I suspect we can think of a few other election pitches that didn't hold water. But add this one to the list.

Oh, and Councilor Turlay, this stuff about "no other choice?"

News flash! You've got choices! Plenty of them.

Here's a math question: When politicians have a choice between raising taxes or reducing expenses, what percentage of time do they opt to raise taxes?

Interesting, eh?

And make no mistake, when you cut through all the gobbledygook about tax rates, and assessed value, and how rates are calculated, and inflation, you end up with this fact:

The government of Vancouver will have more money in their coffers this year than it did last year. More than $400,000 from property taxes. More when you look at the money from all the fees they're also raising.

Interesting.

It's pitched on the premise that hey, it's only a few bucks more, relax, enjoy it.

It's the latte defense. Hey, it's the same cost as just a latte a week. What's the big deal?

Well, when you look at your overall tax bill, that's a lot of lattes!

But it's the giving season. So give these politicians a break. They really are good people.

Interesting.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian's editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505, lou.brancaccio@columbian.com or Twitter: http://twitter.com/lounews.