Commissioners came, they saw and they blinked

March 17th, 2020 by Ken

Something good came out of the Coronavirus scare.  It gave the Thurston County Commissioners an excuse to cancel an election they knew they were going to lose.

Commissioners determined not to go ahead with a major tax increase measure for voter approval using the Corona scare as an excuse.  Vote by mail wouldn’t have been significantly impacted by the quarantine, but it made a good scape goat.

Commissioners read the “writing on the wall” or rather, the scorn of the internet, and determined the ballot measure wouldn’t pass and if it were to be defeated, voters wouldn’t approve on a second try either.  It was just too much and they punted.  Besides, they may very well have lost a court case that would have forced the measure off the ballot anyway.

It’s unlikely the commissioners will place the same measure back on the August ballot.  That’s the first time they can do so.  In all likelihood, they’ll wait until next year and come back with a smaller tax increase, and hopefully spelling out a better deal for the taxpayers.

Don’t get me wrong.  The commissioners have not given up on the idea of building a new courthouse.  They’ve been wanting to do so since 2008.  They still haven’t learned that taxpayers don’t want a $250,000,000 new building and definitely not in downtown Olympia.  They might be willing to approve $50 million for remodeling the existing courthouse.  Even that might be too much.  They would be better off to spend money for maintenance, something they have been negligent in doing for the past decade assuming they would be building a new courthouse.  And maybe building a parking garage on property they currently own next to the courthouse.

I’m not an expert.  They have their own experts.  I just know that organized opposition to the measure, significant increases in our current property tax rates, problems with the ballot title and the Internet were all deciding factors.  The Coronavirus just gave them an opportunity to save face.  And, two of them are up for election this year.

Posted in Government, History, Local Politics, The Real News

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