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Welfare State

Washington's Republican counties depend on Western Washington's money. How can they survive the state budget cuts they demand?

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SOURCE: 2008; OFFICE OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT / SECRETARY OF STATE, 2008 GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION
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When our state's rural Republicans toss around pejoratives like "socialism," "redistribution of wealth," and "welfare state," they're usually hurling them at the People's Republic of Seattle and the Democratic legislators we send to Olympia. As a commenter on the Spokane Spokesman-Review's website recently carped: "Eastern Washington... has always been shorted/slighted where state expenditures are concerned! Nearly to the point that we don't exist!"

That's not an uncommon complaint. Republican lawmakers make a similar accusation, albeit more veiled, that the state is serving as an engine of wealth redistribution. However, the money is not exactly moving in the direction most Eastern Washingtonians suspect.

Indeed, if Washington is a welfare state, it is residents in these mostly rural, mostly Eastern, mostly Republican counties who are the biggest beneficiaries, while taxpayers here in the blue parts of the state are left footing the bill. And while your typical liberal Seattleite might be neither surprised nor disturbed at this revelation, the degree of the gap between who benefits from state government and who pays for it may come as a bit of a shock.

How big is this disparity? According to 2008 budget figures compiled by the state's Office of Financial Management at the request of Representatives Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) and Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), King County, with roughly 29 percent of the state population, produced 42 percent of state tax revenues, yet it received back less than 26 percent of state benefits. That's a return of only 62 cents on the dollar for our state's Democratic stronghold.

Compare that to the generous $3.16 return on each dollar enjoyed by taxpayers in hard Republican Ferry County in deep northeastern Washington. All in all, only six counties qualified as "net donors" to the rest of the state—San Juan, King, Skagit, Kittitas, Whatcom, and Snohomish—while the remaining 33 counties enjoyed an average return on investment of over $1.40 on every tax dollar sent to Olympia.

The Seattle Times dismissed the issue in late January as "neither new nor news." But with $4.6 billion of budget cuts in the offing, now is exactly the time to debate these numbers. "We need to challenge the political bureaucracy to get outside of its comfort zone," Carlyle stresses, "and engage directly in difficult questions of how taxes and spending really flow." One could argue that as lawmakers struggle to divvy up ever-scarcer resources, the question of who's funding whom matters more than ever.

This expenditure/revenue disparity extends across every major spending category of the state's general fund. For example, according to 2008 data compiled by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state spent $6,322 per student in King County to cover K–12 "basic education" costs, ranking us near the bottom statewide, while the usual red-county suspects jockeyed for a position at the top. The winner: Lincoln County, scoring an impressive $10,356 per student.

Break the numbers down by school district, and the chasm yawns wider, as the high cost of subsidizing the many small districts that dot Washington's rural countryside add up to produce per-student expenditures that border on the absurd. The tiny Evergreen School District in Stevens County received $36,566 in state funds for each of its seven enrolled students, while Adams County's Benge School District (a whopping enrollment of nine) topped the charts at $43,924 per student. By comparison, the Seattle School District, much maligned for its administrative overhead and other inefficiencies, managed to get by on only $6,740 in state funding per student, just below the state average, while Skamania County's Stevenson-Carson School District cost state taxpayers a paltry $5,371 per enrollee.

But perhaps the most glaring example of our rural welfare state comes in the category of "welfare" itself, where 2008 data from the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) clearly illustrates just how dependent on Western Washington tax dollars many Eastern Washingtonians have become. King County, home to our state's largest concentration of urban poor, drew only $538 of DSHS expenditures per capita, ranking it 30th out of 39 counties. Meanwhile, such bastions of self-proclaimed self-sufficiency as rural Adams, Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Okanogan Counties consumed per capita DSHS benefits of over $900, while Yakima County—Washington's "fruit basket"—topped the charts at $1,129 per person.

To put this level of dependency in perspective, 83 cents out of every dollar Yakima County sends to Olympia is paid back in DSHS benefits alone. Tiny Ferry County actually receives more in just DSHS benefits—$1.14 on the dollar—than the total tax revenues it pays to the state! Schools, corrections, higher education, everything else... that's all gravy.

The irony here is not that those who benefit most from state spending are paying the least; that's kinda the way these things are supposed to work. No, the irony is that those rural communities that are most dependent on the state—whose roads and schools and other essential public services couldn't possibly be maintained without generous state subsidies—are also those least likely to vote for the tax dollars necessary to sustain these services. Just look at the map on the previous page: Those counties that receive the most money back on the dollar are also those that are most likely to vote Republican. But it's a disconnect that just can't continue forever.

In the short term, without the sort of new tax revenues red-county voters bitterly oppose, draconian budget cuts will be unavoidable. And since these counties currently enjoy a disproportionate share of state spending, it's hard to see how they can avoid a disproportionate share of the cuts.

In the long term, the red counties have by far the most to lose from the devolution of state services. Had King County's school districts been funded proportionate to what King County taxpayers put into state coffers, our schools would have received an additional one billion dollars from the state in 2008; now that's the kind of data point, if properly understood, that could erode local, blue-­county support for statewide solutions.

Which perhaps explains why so few lawmakers seem to want these data points properly understood. recommended

 

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1
Facts bounce off of retardlicans like rubber bullets. That's how an ignoramus like Palin can pass herself off as Reagan to them.
Posted by Cons are a subhuman species on February 9, 2011 at 12:04 PM · Report this
2
I think we should balance the budget by limiting payouts in any given county to a percentage of local tax revenues calculated to produce a balanced budget. Make the teabaggers eat their words.
Posted by Sex and rockets on February 9, 2011 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Banna 3
Is it fair to generalize that "Democratic counties contribute more money to the rest of the state than they get back" when a majority of blue counties (5 of the 9) are actually in the same welfare boat as the red counties (albeit maybe not as deep)? The main takeaway should be: "Four blue counties and one mixed county carry the rest of state."
Posted by Banna http://www.ucp.org on February 9, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
4
Well done.
Here's a similar infographic from 2004 showing the ratio of federal spending to federal tax receipts by state. The irony plays out on a national level.

If anybody can link to a newer map, it would be much appreciated.
Posted by opticsdoug on February 9, 2011 at 1:12 PM · Report this
5
Bonus map: population by county. Aside from Yakima, most of the big spenders have populations smaller than Capitol Hill's.

Goldy's willful ignorance of the difference between fixed costs and variable costs is getting tiring. Rural, low-density counties are always going to have higher per-capita spending than urban counties simply because there are fewer people across which to spread the fixed costs of government (roads, buildings, land management, etc). To claim that spending should be equal across counties with vastly differing population densities is just silly.

I'm well aware that Republicans happily argue for tax cuts without supporting corresponding spending cuts, but this piece mostly comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding how government spending works. You guys can (and should) complain about variable costs of government being higher in places that claim to oppose them, but the analysis doesn't mean much when variable and fixed costs are lumped together.
Posted by Sean P. on February 9, 2011 at 1:29 PM · Report this
6
Look at those poor idiots. Hahaha...they are so poor and stupid that they don't even know they are voting against the system that will make them rich and smart like us!
Posted by cliche on February 9, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
7
This is a compelling visual, but it begs another question that I don't see in the article... What is the impact-per-dollar-spent by county?

It may be true that we spend more of it and collect less of it in the Eastern counties. But if the resulting programs are less impactful, if they are designed in such a way that they work in King County and not in Yakima, if we are 'wasteful' in the sense of running programs that do not produce valuable outcomes, then this graphic actually supports the conservative argument. Is there any data on impact?
Posted by hi-land on February 9, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
8
@hi-land, it doesn't matter what the impact per dollar spent number is. The bottom line is that, on a per-capita basis, the residents of King County are getting ripped off.

The fact that we have to listen to so-called GOP fiscal conservatives lie to our faces while robbing us is just salt in the wound.

@Sean P, Do you even know the difference between fixed and variable costs? What variable costs, exactly, does a county government have? Your argument, if one can call it that, is a complete red herring.

The point of the piece is that the counties in the Red, so to speak, need to decide if they want to have schools, police, welfare, and hospitals, etc. Those services have known fixed costs: salaries, pensions, welfare payments and the costs of maintaining the buildings, e.g., fixed costs. If they want them, they can vote to tax themselves for them.

A variable cost is when someone is hired to build something, e.g., construct a new road.

Maybe the reason Republicans and Libertarians don't ever follow through on balancing budgets and cutting spending is that they have a fundamental misunderstanding of how accounting works.
Posted by Choska on February 9, 2011 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
Damn but I love that map.

Time to give them what they want and have us stop subsidizing those Red County welfare queens and their farmer tax-subsidized lifestyles they can't afford.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on February 9, 2011 at 2:16 PM · Report this
10
Sean P says that the analysis was unfair because it was done on a per-capita basis. I suppose he would prefer seeing the analysis on a per acre basis?

Either way, it's going to come out the same: rural citizens, in general, contribute less to state revenues and, in general, receive more in state spending.

Want to divide it up between fixed costs and variable costs? Great, but also divide the revenues into fixed and variable. There are fixed (or nearly so) revenues in the form of property taxes and variable revenues in the form of B & O and sales taxes. I'm sure that the story is going to come out the same: the state spends more on rural citizens than it collects from them and collects more from urban and suburban citizens that it spends on them.

Don't make excuses: the people living in rural areas chose to live there. They are exercising a choice. They should pay the cost instead of expecting others to pay for their expensive choices.
Posted by Charlie Mas on February 9, 2011 at 2:24 PM · Report this
Medina 11
@5, "To claim that spending should be equal across counties with vastly differing population densities is just silly."

Goldy doesn't make that claim (red-herring argument). What he is saying, I believe, is that socialism is alive and well in Washington State. Those benefiting from this socialism are the very ones who oppose it; or think it is a new plot foisted upon them by Obama; or who think that it'll be the end of FREEDOM and Liberty. Socialism has been the status quo for decades.

Without this socialism, their current way of life would be nearly impossible. If they dislike socialism, let them try rugged-individualism for a few years. I suspect many would change their mind, except for those hardcore hermits.

Posted by Medina on February 9, 2011 at 2:26 PM · Report this
12
@10: Most rural counties in the US have had negligible or negative population growth for decades. People moving to Republic and promptly demanding government subsidies aren't the problem here.

@11: Goldy's claim is that people who argue the loudest against government spending actually benefit the most from it, and that this is relevant to the state's fiscal woes. The point remains, however, that Goldy's chosen metric doesn't necessarily distinguish between "welfare" and "things that cost more per person to provide to places with lower populations or population densities". For that matter, the county tax/spend metric also fails to distinguish between benefits to individuals and statewide benefits. Would you really want I-90 to become a dirt road as soon as it leaves King County?
Posted by Sean P. on February 9, 2011 at 3:11 PM · Report this
13
@5,

I'd add to the others' statements that in Goldy's piece, he clearly states that this is roughly how the State should be dividing it's spending. Rural counties SHOULD receive more than urban ones in taxes to maintain SOME services they can't pay for themselves - with the understanding that they are willing to pay their fair (subsidized) share.

When they force us to raise taxes with 2/3 majorities and then vote in Republican legislators who always refuse to raise taxes, then it is only right to cut their subsidy.
Posted by TyStu on February 9, 2011 at 3:20 PM · Report this
14
@12

You continue to miss the point. It is obvious and excepted that a rural road with a few hundred users is going to cost more per capita than a urban one with 10s of thousands of users.

The point is that those who are being subsidized (in some cases rightly, in some cases, excessively) are unwilling to ever increase taxes and they vote in people who block the rest of the State from raising taxes - they are even opposed to increased taxes if it doesn't affect them (see: Tim Eyman all the time but mostly in relation to the Ferry System).

i-90 should not be a dirt road anywhere, but many Eastern Washington roads should be, but aren't because they are subsidized while Seattle roads are destroyed with potholes. Could we fix this with raising the gas tax, yep but we can't because of the welfare queens.
Posted by TyStu on February 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM · Report this
15
Way to take an issue that is nuanced and make it into a simplistic infograph that only viewers of Fox News and readers of USA Today could truly appreciate.

Progressive business taxation, higher per acre taxation and yes, higher fixed costs can explain away much of the differences. The fact that the map is skewed in such a way is because most liberals would intend it to be so skewed.

It does not preclude the possibility that a less skewed map might produce fine results. But higher fixed costs for roads and schools in large, population scarce counties are always going to be a reality.
Posted by Sigh The Stranger on February 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM · Report this
16
@12

You continue to miss the point. It is obvious and excepted that a rural road with a few hundred users is going to cost more per capita than a urban one with 10s of thousands of users.

The point is that those who are being subsidized (in some cases rightly, in some cases, excessively) are unwilling to ever increase taxes and they vote in people who block the rest of the State from raising taxes - they are even opposed to increased taxes if it doesn't affect them (see: Tim Eyman all the time but mostly in relation to the Ferry System).

i-90 should not be a dirt road anywhere, but many Eastern Washington roads should be, but aren't because they are subsidized while Seattle roads are destroyed with potholes. Could we fix this with raising the gas tax, yep but we can't because of the welfare queens.
Posted by TyStu on February 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM · Report this
wisepunk 17
As a former Tri-City resident, I can assure you there was no need to rebuild highway 240 (the road connecting richland to kennewick) 4 fucking times in the last 25 years. If you drive that road now, it is up to 5 lanes in some places, so hanford workers don't have to sit in traffic for an extra 3 minutes on the way home. Nothing pisses me off more than that kind of pork, especially when I can drive on roads here that have not benn repaved, much less rebuilt, since the 1970's. This is the "welfare" that I want to go after, millions of dollars awarded to private companies for no good goddamn reason.
Posted by wisepunk on February 9, 2011 at 3:33 PM · Report this
18
I don't like your tone... maybe some of the Eastern Washington counties get more tax money. They farm most of the food we eat and manufacture more than in Seattle. Any farms in Seattle. NO. Eastern Washington sustains the rest of the state! If you actually did articles on some of the industry around the state or visited differnt places in the state you would know and I wouldn't have to be typing this... good day.
Stop coplaining so much Stranger.
Posted by Seattle Republican on February 9, 2011 at 4:03 PM · Report this
19
The lesson we should take from the DSHS and education graphs is that counties shouldn't have poor, disenfranchised minorities, right?

Let's stick it to Indians and Hispanics (who already don't vote) because they aren't discouraged enough voters already and their white slavemasters are cocks.

Leveling spending in those areas (in particular) won't really hurt the people who get to make decisions because they aren't the one who actually benefit from those services.

There's certainly more than a little bit of "I got mine" when the people whom these particular transfers are helping aren't really part of the political debate.

Roads, though, yeah, that's legit.
Posted by Gotmine on February 9, 2011 at 4:11 PM · Report this
20
@18 Yeah, they get farm subsidies too- Just add that to the growing list of government handouts.
Posted by UNPAID COMMENTER on February 9, 2011 at 4:19 PM · Report this
21
HO-LY SHIT but that is a frightening lot of red!! YIKES!!!!

Okay. Red counties want big state budget cuts. Should they fend financially for themselves?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 9, 2011 at 4:59 PM · Report this
22
I have to agree with what others have said, Sean. The point being made ISN'T that we should stop playing Robin Hood with taxes--that's a practice that helps a lot of people in the greatest need. The issue is the uneducated and willful ignorance of those who believe that they are being unfairly taxed to benefit King County when the truth is 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

What Goldy is calling for is not an end to the flow of money. Goldy is pointing out yet another case where people have been fed a line, a way of looking at the world, which they believe--heart and soul--is the truth and so they vote accordingly. But it's all a lie.

This is a call to look at the reality, to publicize the reality, and then let people vote based on THAT. The simple reality is that King County foots the bill for Adams County, and when Adams County insists on cutting taxes, because they don't want to pay as much, they are the ones who would be impacted the most.

The reason, undoubtably, that all that work was done on 240 is because someone in the State Legislature need to take jobs back to his district--sorely needed jobs, I'm certain--but each time the road is fixed or expanded, that means we ALL, including the citizens in the effected counties, have to pay for it through taxes.

Thus, if you want us to lower your taxes, one of the things we are probably going to start eyeing are those job-creating projects. So your taxes will be lower, but you won't be able to get work to pay those lower taxes. In the end, it's short-sightedness. And in the end, that's the biggest problem with many Republican ideas and principles: if you take them to their natural conclusions, we all suffer...except for the politicians who actively create these misconceptions: their coffers tend to grow while our savings and budgets shrink.
More...
Posted by lauraj on February 9, 2011 at 5:20 PM · Report this
23
I have to agree with what others have said, Sean. The point being made ISN'T that we should stop playing Robin Hood with taxes--that's a practice that helps a lot of people in the greatest need. The issue is the uneducated and willful ignorance of those who believe that they are being unfairly taxed to benefit King County when the truth is 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

What Goldy is calling for is not an end to the flow of money. Goldy is pointing out yet another case where people have been fed a line, a way of looking at the world, which they believe--heart and soul--is the truth and so they vote accordingly. But it's all a lie.

This is a call to look at the reality, to publicize the reality, and then let people vote based on THAT. The simple reality is that King County foots the bill for Adams County, and when Adams County insists on cutting taxes, because they don't want to pay as much, they are the ones who would be impacted the most.

The reason, undoubtably, that all that work was done on 240 is because someone in the State Legislature need to take jobs back to his district--sorely needed jobs, I'm certain--but each time the road is fixed or expanded, that means we ALL, including the citizens in the effected counties, have to pay for it through taxes.

Thus, if you want us to lower your taxes, one of the things we are probably going to start eyeing are those job-creating projects. So your taxes will be lower, but you won't be able to get work to pay those lower taxes. In the end, it's short-sightedness. And in the end, that's the biggest problem with many Republican ideas and principles: if you take them to their natural conclusions, we all suffer...except for the politicians who actively create these misconceptions: their coffers tend to grow while our savings and budgets shrink.
More...
Posted by lauraj on February 9, 2011 at 5:21 PM · Report this
24
I don't like your tone... maybe some of the Eastern Washington counties get more tax money. They farm most of the food we eat and manufacture more than in Seattle. Any farms in Seattle. NO. Eastern Washington sustains the rest of the state! If you actually did articles on some of the industry around the state or visited differnt places in the state you would know and I wouldn't have to be typing this... good day.
Stop coplaining so much Stranger.
Posted by Seattle Republican on February 9, 2011 at 6:02 PM · Report this
25
Perhaps we need to take a page from Oregon's play book and combine small school districts.
Posted by garland on February 9, 2011 at 6:45 PM · Report this
26
@16, 22: Washington Republicans aren't itching to increase taxes to support their Ferry County brethren because the most Republicans aren't actually DSHS-funded welfare queens (hence my posting of the map of county populations). To the Republicans of Spokane or Vancouver, it would be much better just to gut the DSHS or Basic Health programs that they don't use than it would be to raise their own taxes. Most disproportionate spending enjoyed by suburban and exurban Republicans isn't of the welfare variety, it's of the roads and schools variety that even Republicans support.
Posted by Sean P. on February 9, 2011 at 7:08 PM · Report this
27
@24

Oh, BS. We farm in Western WA, and almost half of WA state agriculture commodities are exported. You can only eat so many apples, which is the largest cash crop.

BTW, you just might want to google "seattle farms" or "seattle manufacturing".

www.ers.usda.gov/statefacts/WA.htm
(link gives lots of info on the state, including where Fed funding goes)
Posted by uptown on February 9, 2011 at 7:24 PM · Report this
28
@18, why is it that whenever rural welfare queens are criticized their reply is, invariably, "we grow your food"; as if that's important. We can import our food from any of a number of semi-literate, 3rd world societies - we don't need to subsidize one east of the mountains. Try building a jet or designing software some time, hillbilly.
Posted by buttmonkey on February 9, 2011 at 7:28 PM · Report this
MrBaker 29
State tax money is not enough, I guess.

Grand jury indicts 4 Eastern Washington growers, processors
LAST UPDATED: FEBRUARY 8TH, 2011 11:16 AM (PST)
Four Eastern Washington farmers and processors have pleaded innocent to federal conspiracy charges that allege they made false reports to defraud the federal crop insurance program of more than $9.5 million.

According to the indictment, the farmers entered into contracts to sell a variety of potatoes not typically suited for processing to the processors. When the potatoes failed to meet processing requirements, the contracts allegedly required the growers to sell the potatoes for a fraction of their value.

A grand jury indicted Jeffrey J. Gordon, a Pasco farmer and owner of Gordon Brothers Cellars winery; Lynn J. Olsen II of Pasco and his company Olsen Ag Inc.; Mark G. Peterson of Richland and his company Poco LLC; and Blake T. Bennett of Pasco and his company Tri-Cities Produce Inc.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/02/08…
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on February 9, 2011 at 7:46 PM · Report this
MrBaker 30
The Republicans can be found every session on the House and Senate floors boohooing over levy equalization. Debolt will, "fight to the death" for that redistribution of wealth.

Rural health clinics, look no further than Gary Alexander.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on February 9, 2011 at 7:56 PM · Report this
31
District 20 is atypical, MrBaker. The rural clinics in that district are pretty explicitly patronage to demonstrate that Alexander isn't just an Olympian exurbanite (of course, he is!).

Republicans in Ferry County almost certainly couldn't care less about rural clinics because that's where Indians go and if they have health problems they just drive to Spokane or get life flighted there. Seriously, they would totally gut DSHS and education funding for levy equalization (if the remaining monies could be spent entirely on roads). Hey, those non-voting Indians get shafted either way, so I guess it's okay.

The above also holds for the Tri-Cities, Yakima and Wenatchee. The enfranchised are mostly white and older. The heavy users of DSHS and ed dollars are mostly Hispanics.

As for the counties, District 49 (Vancouver proper), District 3 (Spokane proper) and Districts 27 & 29 (Tacoma proper) are more reliably Democratic than just about any district not in Seattle. Unfortunately, they are surrounded by suburban voters who want their specific subsidies (ROADS mostly) and bitch about taxes constantly. Ignoring that they are free riders on the services provided by Vancouver, Spokane and Tacoma just as much as the larger counties are subsidized by the state.

There are a couple of things that could be done that aren't quite nose-spite-face like levy equalization. First, enfranchise minority voters in the Northeast Washington and Columbia Basin districts. Get them to buy into the programs they already use and protect them by voting for candidates who explicitly endorse them. There are enough Indian voters in the 7th District and Hispanic voters in the I-82 districts to make them unsafe for the current Republicans. Second, end the farm-to-market road spending glut until the state raises gas taxes to the same level that they were when they were paved (adjusted for inflation). These are both long-game solutions, though, and unlikely to be popular among the Capitol Hill readers of this blog.
More...
Posted by GotMine on February 10, 2011 at 12:49 AM · Report this
32
Perhaps we need to create a state referandum requiring that tax dollars are distributed to counties at an equal proportion to what is collected. Call it something that will really resonate with the rugged individualism psyche of the eastern half of the state, like the "Anti-wealth redistribution act".

Then we'll really get to see who the rugged individuals living off their own hard work really are. Enjoy the third world living, Ferry County!
Posted by mlb on February 10, 2011 at 9:04 AM · Report this
33
Ok, geniuses, how much of that spending that poor eastern counties have to lay out is actually state or federally mandated? That is what we hear in Kitsap. They would love to cut spending, but most, if not all of it is mandated by some other governmental body. there is little or nothing that is discretionary. so of course, on a per capita basis, it will be skewed. learn a little about federally unfunded mandates....
Posted by johnnytheb on February 10, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Wanda Fooka 34
This is the kind of straight-ahead high quality biased reporting we love from the STRANGER. Go team!
Posted by Wanda Fooka on February 10, 2011 at 10:08 AM · Report this
35
And this doesn't even count the massive subsidies resource extraction industries garner in the same Welfare Counties.
Posted by Trail Monk on February 10, 2011 at 10:54 AM · Report this
Rujax! 36
@24...

I don't like YOUR tone either mister.
Posted by Rujax! http://rujax.blogspot.com/ on February 10, 2011 at 11:46 AM · Report this
37
The blue counties -red (but not Red,as in commie,socialist,Anarchist/Syndicalist)-counties paradigm is an oversimplification;there are persons within King County who get waaaaay more than their fair share from the People's Coffer.Ditto on both the national and international levels!Pfft!
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM · Report this
38
Oops!That's "commie/socialist/Anarchist,and Syndcialist".I'm a Red,and I take offense when people label those Kluxers and Nazis as being one of us!Pfft! (L)
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Report this
39
This is such a well-worn issue. Go back and re-read "What's The Matter with Kansas." The surprising thing about this trend (which exists at both the state and national level) is how conservatives are so consistently able to get people in poor rural areas to vote *against* their own economic best interests. When a Microsoft millionaire in Medina votes for tax cuts, I can at least understand it. When a poor single mother with a shaky job near minimum wage in Eastern Washington does, now *that's* surprising.
Posted by Transplant on February 10, 2011 at 11:54 AM · Report this
40
I'm sure Eric Cartman will be along shortly to explain this all in his own special way.
Posted by ctmcmull on February 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
41
@18: "I don't like your tone... maybe some of the Eastern Washington counties get more tax money. They farm most of the food we eat and manufacture more than in Seattle. Any farms in Seattle. NO. Eastern Washington sustains the rest of the state!"

Justify your Socialism and Marxian labor values over the free market any way that makes you happy, pinko. Neocon? More like NeoCOM.
Posted by conservatives are such hypocrites on February 10, 2011 at 1:38 PM · Report this
42
@24, You're right, the farmers grow the food. Then everyone buys that food. That's capitalism. They provide a product and someone else pays them for that product. That is completely irrelevant to this discussion. This discussion is about government services and handouts to those rural folks.
Posted by Root on February 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM · Report this
43
@8, I think it does matter the impact-per-dollar-spent. If the programs themselves only work in Puget Sound and don't hold water east of the mountains then it doesn't matter how much money we pour into them.

For example, a health program designed for urban poor doesn't necessarily work for rural poor but often our state programs operate the same in all geographies.

If an expensive state program doesn't work in Yakima, then it makes sense for them to rail against it. And if it uses our tax dollars, so should we. That's a different kind of waste.

I'm not saying it is true that the programs don't work. I'm just saying the map above doesn't tell us. Money alone is not an indication of impact. People (and especially governments) have been flushing money down the toilet since we started printing it.
Posted by hi-land on February 10, 2011 at 2:41 PM · Report this
44
@24: Um...there are a lot of farms here in Western Washington, too. Look around you, Seattle Republican! A lot of what you eat is grown locally! Have you noticed?

Did you even bother to read Goldy's article? Hypocrites like you make me sick!
Look, if Eastern Washingtonians don't want government funding for their welfare programs, let them raise their own money. Just don't get in our faces when all that money isn't coming YOUR way anymore, either, John GOP Bonehead.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 10, 2011 at 5:30 PM · Report this
45
Well this would probably be a bit more logical if you could show us the per capita average income by county and then the average state tax paid per capita. Because the "rich counties" are just that "rich" and because the sales tax and gas tax is super regressive (yes, there are a few taxes eg., the real estate excise for example that at least more neutral, that is tax on $! mill house in Seattle is !)x that on $100K house in Yakima even tho the two houses are physically identical). Point is, the rich counties have (if my assumptions are correct)FAR more per capita disposable income than the poor counties. This explains why the poor counties are less likely (say 40/60 as opposed to 60/40) to vote for more state taxes...their residents are less likely to see $400/year/household tax on water,pop and candy as "affordable". My theory would also find support in the higher amount of additional local sales and property sales tax the rich counties have voted to impose on themselves for stadiums mass transit etc.
Posted by purple guy on February 10, 2011 at 6:19 PM · Report this
46
I agree with one of the above comments. Let's have an initiative resolving that:

1 - A county may received no more than 110% of the state taxes collected in that county and
2 - A county must receive at least 90% of the taxes collected in that county.

King County would see major gains in tax benefits. San Juan County would have a challenge figuring out how to spend the doubling of state revenue they receive - perhaps better Ferry service?

Would love to see the welfare queens of the state pay their own way and hear them howl!
Posted by Tired of their whining on February 10, 2011 at 6:27 PM · Report this
chimsquared 47
This should be nominated for a Pulitzer. Hey
Eastern Washington Republicans: Fuck you. We can live with the fact that you are mouth-breathing hatemongers -- first amendment is a bitch sometimes. Can you live with the fact that you're money-grubbing hypocrites? -- Love, straight taxpaying Cap Hill resident for tax increases to help your dumb asses out. Oh, and in case you missed it: Fuck you.
Posted by chimsquared on February 10, 2011 at 7:34 PM · Report this
chimsquared 48
Oh, and farmers who buy this line of reasoning ... fuck you. I have zero problem paying California or Mexico farmers another dime for what they grow so your welfare state asses can die. Move to fucking Idaho if you want to keep your guns and hate and bigotry and whiteness.
Posted by chimsquared on February 10, 2011 at 7:41 PM · Report this
49
@32, that's exactly what happens in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Some goes to the whole state, but the rest gets sent back to wherever it came from. Live in a rich area like Charlottesville or Alexandria? You're okay. Live in a poor area, like VA Beach or the far western part of the state? Suck it.

I have seen better roads in Zambia than in some parts of Virginia.
Posted by slinky on February 11, 2011 at 12:10 AM · Report this
Red Spandex Guy from Airpocalypse 50
Huh...Stevenson Carson Schools have the least funding. That Explains Everything. (Glaring at you, ex-principal Teitzel.)
Posted by Red Spandex Guy from Airpocalypse on February 11, 2011 at 12:51 AM · Report this
51
I have said it a million times. Let the meme ring out loud from the mountain tops: REPUBLICANS ARE MOOCHES. THEY MOOCH OFF THE STATE, AND DON"T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE. MOOCH. MOOCH. MOOCH. How do you like that, mister rugged individualist cowboy? Your daddy was mooch too.
Posted by Meme on February 11, 2011 at 8:42 AM · Report this
52
Corporation are people too (so says Uncle Sam)!Do they pay their fair share in this state?Nope!Close the tax loopholes and retro-actively enforce a state-wide progressive income tax(because you called your state senator and representatives to sponsor bills in their respective chambers,right?)
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 11, 2011 at 1:42 PM · Report this
53
I'm not saying that the red counties are bunch of ignorant whining welfare queens, I'm just suggesting that someone introduce a state bill mandating that all tax revenues stay within the county which paid them, and let those proud East Washingtonians embrace or reject socialism.
Posted by tiktok on February 11, 2011 at 1:56 PM · Report this
54
Just give me the money and shut your pie hole. You gave me Gregoire, Murray, Cantwell and a Democratic majority in the Legislature. You own be big time.
Posted by Cletus on February 11, 2011 at 4:46 PM · Report this
55
Love the article. It has, obviously, created much debate. However, I think this was mentioned in the PI before. That being said...

There was a majority that voted against the new taxes. We are now in a budget crisis. My suggestion is that our legislature consider granting the moneys received by each county.

I've decided to become a Conservative. Percentage of monies received by each county should be the percentage of monies spent. We need budget cuts and this is the way to do it.

If you only give 18% to the budget, you only receive 18% of the budget. Let the counties decide how to handle this money.

I realize, of course, that State budget from Federal funds is entirely different... oh, wait. We no longer have ear-marked spending. Personally, I'd say stop the farming welfare. That money will really come in handy right now.
Posted by DarthTagnan on February 11, 2011 at 7:04 PM · Report this
56
@ 54 Cletus
Right there with you!
Posted by DarthTagnan on February 11, 2011 at 7:06 PM · Report this
57
Too late for a Rodney King moment, eh?

Sure, Eastern Washington needs roads and utilities and schools. It makes sense to extract payments for those items in those locations. So why not levy a local gas tax? Let those who want to drive big trucks on over great distances, where it's for business or recreation pay more to use those roads. That's where personal choice vs societal obligation comes in. The state build the road to connect the orchard with the processing plant or storage facility but as it get torn up with use, let that cost be borne by those who use it. (I think all gas taxes should be assessed by vehicle weight anyway, no matter where they are driven - http://bit.ly/hynw2O) After all, don't Metro fares and ferry tickets keep going up? And don't the majority of ferry and Metro patrons live in those counties that are being played for suckers here?
Posted by local curmudgeon on February 12, 2011 at 8:07 AM · Report this
58
Frightening to understand that the major metropolitan regions of the U.S. have a huge incentive to demolish social programs at the Federal level and maintain them for their own regions. Surely the liberal people of all these regions are not unaware of the balance. Of course, the imbalance in tax is the result of an unjust imbalance in income and wealth. The struggle is not Dem/Repub, Urban/Rural, State vs State. It is class struggle against a wealthy oligarchy.
Posted by toddboyle on February 12, 2011 at 10:23 AM · Report this
59
OK. Oligarchs enter. Very appropritate since we're bickering about roads and gas taxes and maybe some monster mobiles tearing up the roads. Exxon, did it really have a windfall 19 billion dollar year wherein they paid no taxes and yet were refunded 119 million dollars? Is this true? If so, how dare we give them such a piddly sum.
Posted by bookcaravan on February 12, 2011 at 11:55 AM · Report this
60
Great article. The Stranger made a great choice when it hired you!
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on February 12, 2011 at 4:19 PM · Report this
61
No more government handouts to farmers. If they can't grow food for a price people are willing to pay, they should go out of business. As for the stupid argument about "fixed costs," the farmers should pay for the infrastructure they need to get their products to their customers.
Posted by notfromaroundhere on February 12, 2011 at 4:46 PM · Report this
62
I am a newcomer to Seattle and lifelong urbanite. However, for this discussion I would like to sit on the fence, if that is allowed. On one hand, the figures presented in the article confirmed a hunch of mine that conservative, rural states benefit from tax dollars more than most of their residents are aware. Also, perhaps like the borders of many African nations, WA's borders have been drawn fairly arbitrarily and should reflect the geography and culture, perhaps not. However, like many of the problems we are facing today, the question of equity involves complex social-ecological systems that become blurred through the lens of "us vs. them", as I have read above.

King County builds sports stadiums with tax dollars, Eastern WA builds long roads that are used by few, the entire WA State economy was built on war and large Federal investments...: multiplying such examples on both sides can only get us so far in better understanding the economic challenges we face. A number of other factors were touched upon in comments above and should be weighed up. For example, rural counties are generally stewards of a large proportion of our green infrastructure (forests, shrub steppe etc.), which provides an essential complement to our "built" infrastructure, and although agriculture makes up a mere 3% of our GDP (or thereabouts), food is arguably its most important component for humans. The western counties also contribute much in value added products and services, but from a historical viewpoint this was almost inevitable, looking at the Counties' proximity to ports and access to international labor. If we switched the people in King County with those in an eastern county, chances are the cultures would switch over a couple of generations.

This article is a great way to open the discussion on how the state can eventually get closer to working as an integrated "whole", for the benefit of everybody. Measures of tax revenues etc. are important, but many others exist. I suggest an article series that begins to explore the many facets of WA's economy and underlying themes.
More...
Posted by Hello_olleH on February 12, 2011 at 6:50 PM · Report this
63
#62: Excellent post. I'm a NY descended (and educated) Seattle urbanite, but I grew up in Spokane (b. 1950) and my in-laws are in Okanogan. I know this state from corner to corner. Your observations and analysis are very accurate from my experience.
Posted by TobyinFremont on February 12, 2011 at 8:03 PM · Report this
sparkydive 64
Want to read some more telling statistics? Check out the % of population employed by a government agency (either city, county, state or federal, as of 2007). In eastern Washington, the winners are: Ferry Co. 63.4%, Pend Oreille 46.2%, Lincoln 52.6%, Whitman 60.3%, Columbia 45.8% and Garfield 70.9%. That's right - almost seventy one percent of Garfield county has some sort of government job. Which is, amazingly enough, almost identical to their percent of Republican voters.

In western Washington, the county with the largest percentage of government workers is Kitsap county at 47.3% (think Bremerton shipyards). That's even more than the Thurston county at 45% with the state capital.

The county with the smallest percentage of government workers? You guessed it - King county 12.3%.

So, not only do those idiots in eastern Washington get more in tax money, but a larger percentage of them work for the same government that they want to get rid of.

Did I mention that they were idiots?
Posted by sparkydive on February 12, 2011 at 9:22 PM · Report this
65
Hey Goldy,you forgot to put the yellow Hammer and Sickle (or yellow Star) on all that redness!!!I'm gonna report your "error" to the Central Committee . . . .To everybody:Sever as many ties with the state government as you can.Sue the mofos in federal court to allow your municipality and/or county to acquire tax autonomy.Don't expect help from the ACLU,Public Citizen,the National Lawyers Guild,and the Brennan Center;you might need to go it alone with a class- or mass-action lawsuit.
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 13, 2011 at 3:42 PM · Report this
66
If you live out in one of the less populated counties with, say, only 25 families who farm live there yet 3 major state highways and major electrical grids go thru your county you will divide the cost of those highways and grids between 25 families even though the whole state profits from those highways grids.

Sounds like lying with numbers to me.
Posted by Libertyman on February 13, 2011 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Sudden Nut 67
@24 Don't forget that those farmers get sizeable federal farms subsidies. Rugged self-sufficiency all around!
Posted by Sudden Nut on February 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM · Report this
68
@64: sparkydive: I already knew, but thanks for sharing.

Posted by auntie grizelda on February 14, 2011 at 4:53 PM · Report this
69
Cletus, are you really Eric Cartman?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM · Report this
70
Okay all you anti-Eastern Washington folks. Come live for awhile in the "red" part of the state and see if you can actually find some compassion. If you keep your eyes and hearts open, you'll find that your stereotypes do not hold, not across the board anyway.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and you'll soon discern the fear that underlies so many beliefs and decisions here ... of course there is deep fear, this is a land where livelihoods are reliant on diminishing natural resources. Bitch slapping us because our roads cost more per capita than in densely populated areas is not going to resolve anything.

And sure, a huge percentage of the population here works in government positions. We need the same kind of agencies as more densely populated areas, but fewer people to fill the roles. Or would you argue that we ought not have libraries or snow plows because we our taxes contribute less to the state coffers?

After paying taxes in King County for 30 years, I now pay them in Ferry County.

It is "red" over here, but I try to UNDERSTAND why, because these are people, just like in the "blue" part of the state. Mud slinging is not going to change how people vote over here. I'm telling you. Try something else, okay.
Posted by LeilaDawn on February 14, 2011 at 7:49 PM · Report this
71
@70- Way to miss the point.

We're saying STOP VOTING AGAINST YOUR OWN INTERESTS. We're not saying "No services for you." We're saying "Stop trying to cut OUR services and shooting yourself in the foot at the same time."
Posted by dwight moody on February 15, 2011 at 2:17 PM · Report this
72
@71: I second that!

THANK YOU, dwight moody, for nailing it spot on!
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 15, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 73
Farm subsidies are socialism, no different from food stamps. Can I get an amen, Eastern Washington?
Posted by Free Lunch on February 15, 2011 at 11:01 PM · Report this
74
I suspect the same numbers would apply to Oregon. We mirror Washington in a lot of ways. Rural (red) Eastern Oregon is about as backwards and red neck as it gets out here in the west. I keep hearing sentiment that we should "cut out the Portland/Salem metro areas" from the rest of the state. Oh yeah, turn rural Oregon into a Republican Nirvana of crumbling roads, falling down schools, with lots of guns and bibles. Maybe we can make a living selling meth from all of our labs to the metro areas.
Posted by Tom on February 16, 2011 at 10:55 AM · Report this
75
I see how this propaganda works as my comment from earlier was deleted.
This comment is not so much as to comment about the subject but about the
Political views of the editors of this page. I noticed others were gone as well.
I guess my views were to factual for the folks in denial / leftist.
Posted by wiseman on February 16, 2011 at 12:59 PM · Report this
76
I see how this propaganda works as my comment from earlier was deleted.
This comment is not so much as to comment about the subject but about the
Political views of the editors of this page. I noticed others were gone as well.
I guess my views were to factual for the folks in denial / leftist.
Posted by wiseman on February 16, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
77
@75/76: Or.....maybe because your blindsided views were a bit rightwing/clueless?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 16, 2011 at 4:43 PM · Report this
78
This is about honesty. The point is that all of us use government services, and that costs money. The difference between the Blue counties and the Reds is that the Blues are honest enough to admit it, while the Reds insist on a myth that we can all be rugged individuals who don't need anything from anyone else (while actually sucking in far more tax dollars than the blues. That myth is choking off the ability to raise the funds that all of us need. Go ahead and live your red county lifestyle, but please don't lie about it in a way that hurts all of us.
Posted by Dan in Seattle on February 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM · Report this
79
@77 Yes this whole BLOG SLOG thing is new to me. And my views are definitely not left wing. That happens when you become disillusioned from the political left. You see I used to be a leftist and supported everything that sounded like a good popular thing to do.
I have spent many hours around your fires. I volunteered and was part of that whole social seen. I studied Carl Marx, etc. while I was still in junior high. After a while I became aware of the disparities and realized that all the talk about equality and justice for all was not really what was happening. I stepped back a moment and was able to see the big picture.

As I went to the stranger for the first time I discovered that I was going to be just sitting for a L O N G time because I am one of many in Eastern Washington that do not have
hi-speed as available as folks in the city. Having some computer issues as well does not help.
Posted by wiseman on February 16, 2011 at 7:57 PM · Report this
80
“Had King County's school districts been funded proportionate to what King County taxpayers put into state coffers, our schools would have received an additional one billion dollars from the state in 2008; now that's the kind of data point, if properly understood, that could erode local, blue-­county support for statewide solutions.”

“Which perhaps explains why so few lawmakers seem to want these data points properly understood.”

Is “had” different than IF and doesn’t the way this is phrased sound like King County is getting shorted additional one billion dollars or perhaps the Red counties are getting one billion dollars they should not. This Data point the author is so proud of is not even a data manipulation but a totally bogus stretch of the imagination.
And then again how much is the Growth Management Act (GMA)costing taxpayers as a flawed effort to try and do a good thing?

A word of wisdom from a red county don’t let this red county /haring distract us from the real money suck, the (GMA)
Posted by wiseman on February 16, 2011 at 8:53 PM · Report this
81
As a memorable professor said, "Subsidies have worked well to keep farmers barefoot, pregnant and in the corner." And Americans spend far less on food ( less than 10% of income) than anyone else in the world.

Also, the majority of the Farm Bill funds are Food Stamps. Convenient little facts to forget while you're jaunting around Seattle.
Posted by Ceres on February 17, 2011 at 12:10 AM · Report this
82
@79: So...does that mean that you are still in the dark?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 17, 2011 at 5:51 PM · Report this
83
Sooo Help me out here...
Im look for similar info for other states (mine, in particular...)
Is this census information? and how do I apply to my, and surrounding states? Thanks for the help. TS
Posted by Soulbugg on February 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM · Report this
84
We need a voter initiative that caps state spending in each county to what it contributes in tax revenues.
Posted by Getupstandup on February 17, 2011 at 8:48 PM · Report this
Goldy 85
Soulbugg @83,

This was mostly data provided by state agencies. But I'm sure the same sort of information is available from your state.
Posted by Goldy on February 17, 2011 at 10:49 PM · Report this
86
Yakima County has a population that is nearly 50% Hispanic, and Hispanics there most likely make up the majority of DSHS spending. On the whole, these people are NOT likely Republican voters. The argument that these are the people voting to cut taxes/restrict spending, while receiving tons of DSHS dollars, is overly simplistic.
Posted by lullard on February 18, 2011 at 9:58 AM · Report this
87
The article's intent to call out Easterners who want to "bite the hand that feeds them" is fair and eye-opening, but does not highlight one specific truism often enough.

Those counties create less money than King-Sno-Pierce Counties, but have the same needs as the big counties. It's no wonder the smaller counties have larger percentages of people in government jobs. Would you rather close the library or PD?

King-Sno-Pierce counties actually produce big quantities of exportable goods. Microsoft and Amazon come immediately to mind.

The arguments about education are both fair but misleading. Yes, it costs a lot to educate kids. But there are more kids in the more populated counties and more unfunded educational infrastructure in those more populated counties. If education was funded properly statewide, the numbers per-kid should even out.

I take offense to the shit being thrown on farmers. I agree subsidies are questionable in a free market society, but a big part of the subsidies are because of government regulations to keep food prices down. Lift the regulations, kill the subsidies -- and be prepared for a big sticker shock at the local grocery. For those who believe life is too expensive already, be prepared to ante up more money to your local food bank -- like we should -- or accept that more people will go hungry. It's difficult. Oh, and more people in both the West and the East will need more food stamps, by the way.

Why the hell should we import food in mass quantities when we grow it here - the shipping cost is ineffective.

For the people who talk trash about choosing to live in a rural area like it is wrong: fuck you. I live in the rural town where I work. Would you rather I lived in an urban society but clogged I-5 and polluted more to drive to work? That would be my situation. No reliable bus service out here, so the car is my only way to go.

And to the people who grind their teeth at the backwardness of eastern Washington: mixed feelings here, but instead of attacking, enlighten them.

I agree most with #62 and #70. I'm not sure if #80 can back up the facts, but I'm aware of how the GMA restricts and fights urban sprawl into the rural boonies.

And when you see my screen name, remember kids, Libertarians are not Tea Partiers. I'd be happy to debate that, but the common TP's wacky anti-gay and rightwing social views go right against the LP.
More...
Posted by SnoCo Libertarian on February 18, 2011 at 6:10 PM · Report this
88
@86 If that's true, then these folks need to start voting. Losing some benefits might get them to the polls.
Posted by Getupstandup on February 19, 2011 at 5:43 AM · Report this
89
wiseman@79A former Leftist?Is that even possible?Can one truly chose to go to Hell because they allegedly got bored of Heaven?
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 19, 2011 at 2:05 PM · Report this
90
Aren't farmers paid to not grow food in the USA?How much arable land is now paved over?How much of it is used to grow food for non-human animals?Biofuels?Christmas trees?How many tens of billions of pounds of edible food were thrown away by Americans in 2010?Socialism would pay for itself,unlike intra-species parasitism! (L)
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 19, 2011 at 2:09 PM · Report this
91
Give 'em to Idaho.
Posted by CBryanKing on February 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM · Report this
92
@89: LOL!!! It makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 19, 2011 at 8:07 PM · Report this
93
@82 & @89
Not wishing to dominate your this SLOG,
I have chosen to step back and see if folks can be civil.
Thank you for being that. I have gotten a better understanding of this process, reformatted HD, and busy doing other things, thank you.

@89 The pressures that the political left place on rural counties are not heavenly.
I would rather live in what you perceive as hell and live in truth than be guided by the misleading information that comes via the leftist radio, publications etc. in your region.
I would not caricaturize living in a pear pressure state of existence as being heavenly.
(I have friends in Seattle and know what folks still have to deal with along with the responsibilities of life. I feel compassion for you folks in that.)
I have stated this as looking at it from denial. I would indeed find THAT boring.
Living truth, as is demonstrated in nature and much more abundant in rural counties and slower than what you experience most of the time in higher populated counties but I and others prefer it. Something else that has been brought to the attn. Of folks in Ferry County that might want to be considered is the signs that have been seen by several in Western WA. ( Go to Ferry County and Live on DSHS ) We don’t care much for that either. Another consideration about DSHS is the Report from the WA Dept. of Revenue stating that DSHS employees have over paid them selves approx. $600,000.00 over past years and it is not expected to ever be recovered. Along with the GMA $ suck the Government employees need to stop it as well.
Posted by wiseman on February 20, 2011 at 9:05 AM · Report this
94
@89 The Sound bite version
Neo do you want the Red pill or the Blue one.
Posted by wiseman on February 20, 2011 at 9:58 AM · Report this
95
@93 & @94: All I'm saying is for anybody--east or west---to stop shooting down government services they rely on, only to stupidly whine about losing money later.

Okay. I'm done.
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 22, 2011 at 5:33 PM · Report this
96
@93 As in all attempts to restrict the growth of bureaucrats, public services are always cut first. This brings about pressure on the common person so they can leverage their socialist agenda.
These include the DSHS etc. There will always be whiners anywhere and I am not one. I and many others in Ferry County use native plants for good health. In Rural eastern WA mountain people that own land are generally much more independent and self-reliant. Mostly we just want to be left alone. The folks that are reliant on social services are generally new-comers and ironically folks that lean to the left and vote along with you folks anyway.
Posted by wiseman on February 23, 2011 at 8:57 AM · Report this
97
@95
Services you don’t like us getting OK.

Schools; Educating , and preparing the young for life. also indoctrinating them to be linear thinking socialist supporting that agenda. More Bricks in the wall. Along with the school staff that support your vote.

Hospitals; That are entirely too expensive keeping up with your urbane socialist system.

Roads; The county road department comes along and tares up the roads. They plow the snow for the new-comers that pay too much for land, driving up our taxes.

Agencies; That tell us that we can’t use our land.

I guess I might be missing something here, care to enlighten me ?
Posted by wiseman on February 23, 2011 at 10:21 AM · Report this
98
First,@92:He was askin' for it,wasn't he?;D.Second,@94:Grammatical legerdemain!You're the one who overdosed on blue pills,foolishman!
Posted by 5th Columnist on February 23, 2011 at 2:22 PM · Report this
99

@95 It seems only fair to mention that if anyone was to whine from rural counties about the reactionary left cutting back on services it would be only fair as not one comment has been given to viable options or real $ sucking, I have pointed out. Piece out.
@98 Neo’s Red pill or blue pill reference was to the life that is an illusion in the Matrix. A little movie before your time I guess.
You seem more interested in the BS games as to “getting someone” or seeing grammatical errors, than considering what is being communicated. I will mention a lyric sang by a black man that I have a great amount of respect for, being Jimi Hendrix, particularly the song
“All along the Watchtower”.
("There are many here among us Who feel that life is but a joke"
"But you and I, we've been through that And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now The hour is getting late).
So throw out your little quips and don’t bother having anything really substantive to contribute, It won’t bother me. I am finished tilting at windmills. Another reference you probably don’t understand.
I will not be back for any more of your silliness.
Piece out.

Posted by wiseman on February 23, 2011 at 6:42 PM · Report this
100
really....this is dumb, you do realize that even when they do vote "republican" it doesn't matter because the majority of our state population is democrat...so how they vote is irrelevant. as well as the fact that because of the fact that there is more money being brought in the less you would get back, its the same as when you do your own taxes; the more you make the less you get back. so the less people the more it seems they get. Also to raise taxes for the purpose of "fixing roads" that should only need it once every ten years, because lack of use, is just a moron call and anyone who would vote for something like that is dumb. so that's why they don't. they are actually saving money for the state and isn't that what your trying to say here....ya I think so
Posted by Westside Republican on February 28, 2011 at 1:31 PM · Report this
101
The socialism continues. The Texas drought will cause most dryland farmers to plow their crops under. They're ok with that since they have crop insurance. Guess who subsidizes the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. Right!
Posted by buckcameron on June 24, 2011 at 4:24 PM · Report this
102
99
good post
Hendrix's cover is great (better than original?), but Dylan is the author of “All along the Watchtower”
Posted by TobyinFremont on July 19, 2011 at 2:24 PM · Report this
103
This same scenario is playing all out over the entire country. Plain and simple, it costs the country more when you live in rural areas. Those in cities are subsidizing those in rural areas. How ironic that those in rural areas dislike city folk so much and want to stop the socialism that helps them!
Posted by anonymous123 on August 1, 2011 at 10:53 PM · Report this
104
Goldy, How is it you can be so smart in your reporting about macro-economic WA school issues and so fucking stupid about the policies issues and leadership of Seattle Public Schools right in your own backyard.

Too bad you couldn't motivate yourself to do a more comprehensive reporting job in the SPS campaign. As our schools are privatized and teacher union is kicked to the curb, take a long depressing look into your lack of interest or perhaps ability to keep your own urban house in order.
Posted by gator bait on November 14, 2011 at 3:56 PM · Report this
Bob T 105
Yes, the great population in King county pays the greatest share of taxes for the state. Eastern Wa. sells it's produce cheaply to the world. Beef, milk, wheat, corn, hopps, barley, apples, cherries, grapes, wine, lumber, electricty, calcium, gold, silver, and old rust free pickup trucks.

Enjoy, Bob T.
Posted by Bob T on November 15, 2011 at 10:15 PM · Report this
106
Ferry County

2000 sq. mi.
16% private land
=320 sq. mi.
1/2 is reservation
=160 sq. mi. outside reservation in county jurisdiction.

$600,000+ received and spent on GMA in last 22 yrs. and Ferry County is still out of compliance after 22 yrs.
Posted by garwood7 on June 1, 2012 at 7:24 AM · Report this
107
This is a modern version of a very old confrontation between
industrial/computer areas and agrarian. In the late 80's Western
Washington was affluent and felt the migrant farm worker should be
Helped and offered Free Housing, Free Health Care, Free Schooling
Free Food and Free Money. The struggling poor was helped at the time yet also created a new line of people accustom to a big government handouts.
Wealthy Farmers invited and brought them here, Seattle liberals passed bills to let them stay and fed them now a once hardworking people are paid to reproduce and expect Social Handouts.
Both sides of the State are to blame for creating this problem and both need to come together to solve it.
Posted by Brian Buckaroo on June 19, 2012 at 6:29 AM · Report this
108
Therefore, it is totally justified to eliminate infrastructure funding in rural areas, take away the one and only bus route to the one and only hospital in Gig Harbor (for example) and raise taxes on gas so that the rural poor can't even hope to make it to any kind of medical care, hmm? But I guess they deserve their misfortune--if only they would vote Democrat! That would solve their problems--after a sports stadium is funded, more bus and light rail routes created for Seattle, and so on and so on.

Ever think the increased funding for rural areas per capita is so that their infrastructure and schools can catch up with what urban areas already have?
Posted by Karenh on August 14, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this
109
Two things:

1: Red counties are not 100% red. Our low cost of living is good for people on government checks, so it would be natural to end up with a lot of welfare people to move where it's cheaper to live. Maybe without the Welfare money, they would have to go back. We would certainly be happier without them.

2: If you want to keep your money, you need to keep your regulations too. They increase our cost of operation and often are quite stupid when applied to a low population density environment.
Posted by Shirou Zhiwu on November 9, 2012 at 10:47 AM · Report this
110
The problem is not the Farmers. It is the Gov Unions. And the Governors that give them thier huge pay raises and benefits. That's where the costs are going. The more they make the more Political Donations goes to the Democrats. Especioally in the heavily populated areas where peopler live. Greg negotiated with the Gov unions just before her last campaign. Certain Union workers were making just $14,000 after they were through talking, those Gov workers were forced to join the union and then they made $40,000 per year. Greg got one heck of a donation from that union. and so did the Demcrat party. Also that map doesn't show the Population figures. So it is not accurate for the type of disscussion being held here. This is only one situation. When those roads have to be fixed the prevailing wage kicks in and has to be calculated from the nearst union which is in a larger city rather than a small stop on a highway. Talking about the Gross amount does not show the real costs. Read about it in the Seattle Times.
Posted by Straight Scoop on January 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM · Report this
111
We really need updated financial figures. It's not persuasive to quote figures from 2008 in the year 2014. I recorded Dominic Holden's comments at the Transit Forum thursday... he again said the 60% figure. I can't find more recent figures since this was apparently a special report for Reuven Carlyle. http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/welfa…
Posted by toddboyle on January 19, 2014 at 3:23 PM · Report this
112
All this whining is another reason to cut this state in half along the cascade ridge line. The eastside won't suffer.
Posted by waradman on January 30, 2014 at 8:13 PM · Report this
113
Tell you what... if Eastern Washington is such a burden to Western Washington then we should split the state down the Cascade Trail.
Posted by johninwr on January 31, 2014 at 8:15 PM · Report this
114
Good article, too bad the discussion got mired down in insults and stupidity. Is there a good source for tax receipts and disbursements broken down by county and category? Also, and to pick just one example, how much do the rural counties of E. Washington spend on facilities used by residents of W. WA? The reverse is valid also, how much does King Co. spend on me? I admit it - I am a Ferry Co. resident - born, raised here, and back for retirement.

I know - the real problem is not the exact balancing of the accounts. The important thing is that neither one of us, East side or West side, could live as well as we do without the other. The challenge is to convince the idiots among us - on all sides - that we all benefit if we try to solve our problems instead of pointing fingers.

Several years ago there was an initiative complaining about the 520 bridge. At the time I knew it was bullshit but I had no data to back it up. Then at the very end someone came out with the tax and benefit figures: for every $1.00 Ferry County sent to the state in gas taxes, we got $5.00 in road funds back. By then the opinions had hardened, at the beginning the facts could have made a difference.
Posted by Bryan B on February 8, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
115
since all of those "republican" counties produce almost all the food and raw goods used by the "democrat" counties, I'm sure all of this money spent had nothing to do with getting food to 'democrat' counties so the 'democrats' can eat too.
Posted by Nick Krehnke on February 9, 2014 at 2:41 PM · Report this
116
If the "Republicans" are the biggest recipients of tax money, then you would have no problem going along with the tax cuts. It seems very strange that so many westside voters would be doing us the favor, voting in all those funds and all.
Posted by Decker on February 9, 2014 at 6:10 PM · Report this
117
If the "Republicans" are the biggest recipients of tax money, then you would have no problem going along with the tax cuts. It seems very strange that so many westside voters would be doing us the favor, voting in all those funds and all.
Posted by Decker on February 9, 2014 at 8:43 PM · Report this
118
Where is the logic in this article?
Posted by Decker on February 9, 2014 at 8:52 PM · Report this
119
I agree - this isn't new or news (in fact, I'm pretty sure The Stranger has published on this before - perhaps like 10 years ago).

Also, critically, this is the Maginot Line of political debate. The argument about "self sufficiency" is now more about myth-making than any type of reality; redistribution is a buzzword only among those nationally-recognized electives who have essentially forsaken their nominal constituents and are positioning for more national-level positions, like the presidency
Posted by fetish on February 10, 2014 at 9:12 AM · Report this
120
Although you don't even link to the Seattle Times piece that apparently said "this is neither new nor news" so it's impossible to know the context, they are in fact absolutely correct about that. And I guess that is reinforced by the fact that you're using six year old data as a basis for your story.

And this over-simplification of red state/blue state voters is really pathetic. How do you know the people receiving welfare in Eastern Washington are voting Republican when in most of these counties around 40% of the population vote Democratic?

But hey, who cares about that? Let's just take this opportunity to make fun of those stupid poor rednecks who vote against their own interests, right? Poor people are so stupid!
Posted by ian on February 10, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
121
This has been an 'unbalanced state' for a long time. There has been a long held mind-set in E'WA that accepts a 'scam' behavior.... especially if it scams government or the W'Wa's. R's promote it and yet don't like it when others figure it out and use their methods too. Immigrants learn from their surroundings. E'WA is a bastion of systems in which old-fashioned ideas continue to survive. They have Fox on the TV @ the local restaurants. My family from Pasco/Kennewick, and it was once a Dem county. It's not a matter of # of counties that vote D. It's that 'the people that vote' - and most of the population lives in only a few.
Posted by KWestWA on February 10, 2014 at 11:20 AM · Report this
BroadwayJoeFYVM 122
Considering that Clallam County's State legislators are all Democrats (unless one of them jumped the ship/shark with Judas Rodney), I'm having a hard time with my county being considered a 'Republican' county. Where did you get the info on that, Goldy?

Broadway Joe
Posted by BroadwayJoeFYVM http://joeknowsjacksquat.blogspot.com on February 10, 2014 at 2:17 PM · Report this
123
It's an article like this that seems so authoritative, but is so misleading, that again makes me wonder why The Stranger is EVER considered some great alternative newspaper. [And I voted for Sawant so don't assume I'm conservative.] As was pointed out in the fifth comment to this article, "the analysis doesn't mean much when variable and fixed costs are lumped together."

And when comparing sparsely populated counties like Garfield or Wahkiakum or Ferry to densely populated counties along Puget Sound. Tiny rural counties always cost more because they still need a base of service whose cost is always higher per capita than a large urban county.

It's easy for The Stranger to diss the rural, conservative parts of the state, but it only shows as much or more provincialism as they can find "out there."

What has been true for a century is that government, especially the feds, but in time also very much the state, has transformed the entire state -- from tough scrubland to fertile fields, dense forests to massive tree farms, and quite a few wetlands to docks and piers and industrial or warehouse districts. Just drive from Moses Lake to Pasco now, and it looks more like Iowa farmland than its old sagebrush steppe with basalt outcroppings. That's mostly from water behind Grand Coulee, a socialist venture if there ever was one.
Posted by trob on February 10, 2014 at 3:24 PM · Report this
kellyllek 124
haha! oh man, republicans are stupid.
Posted by kellyllek http://www.youtube.com/user/pike024 on February 10, 2014 at 4:16 PM · Report this
125
Soooo I'm guessing now is a good time to float the idea of non-citizens who receive many benefits. Me here's the chart in that? And what's the breakdown on exactly what kind of projects w what kind of returns are manages in the 'taker' counties. Someone above mentioned all these people are stupid for voting against the spending that's 'benefitting' them. In my limited and humble experience, typically, republicans vote against spending bc they see extra BS programs w little payout causing this exact kind of data. If programs are needed in King or Kittitas, and not needed in Spokane, but are required due to state law, is that the idiocy of the voters in Spokane who count for a small portion of Washington population? I'm gonna have to raise a flag. What's not mentioned in a graph is just as important as what is. -peace from Kittitas County, a giver
Posted by republican giver & thinker on February 11, 2014 at 4:45 AM · Report this
126
Oh, great. Another article about CUBRs. (Crazy Uncle Bob Republicans... Because isn't that who they remind you of? Crazy Uncle Bob, muttering in the corner of the room, embarrassing the family?)

Ah, well.
Posted by Aurelian on February 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM · Report this
127
Oh, great. Another article about CUBRs. (Crazy Uncle Bob Republicans... Because isn't that who they remind you of? Crazy Uncle Bob, muttering in the corner of the room, embarrassing the family?)

Ah, well.
Posted by Aurelian on February 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM · Report this
128
Horrible article. Shameful reporting. Not helping in any way shape or form. You should be ashamed.
Posted by Caltrops on February 11, 2014 at 10:33 PM · Report this
129
Much of the "welfare" cited are state mandates for programs that outlying counties may oppose. Unfortunately, to reject a program is to reject the accompanying funding, and no politician wants to shortchange their constituency. The hypocrisy demonstrated by this article is that EVERYONE recognizes that the state is in difficult financial straits, but only those with the most to lose (republicans) are advocating the necessary cuts. It seems like Democrats, who contribute most of the money, should be quick to join their red-state brethren on this issue...
Posted by howar on February 12, 2014 at 7:19 AM · Report this
130
The use of the term "welfare queen" is racist. Please educate yourselves and stop using it.
Posted by bnon on February 12, 2014 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Texas10R 131
To Goldy:

This is an important and well written article.

Consider avoiding double negatives.

Instead of: "That's not an uncommon complaint."

Use: That's a common complaint.

Posted by Texas10R on February 15, 2014 at 6:31 PM · Report this

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