Letter: Yes for public safety tax

May 19, 2014 

Proposition 14-5, calls for public vote on Aug. 5 for an increase in Benton County sales and use tax for public safety in the amount of 0.3 percent (three pennies on a $10 purchase). This proposition has been studied and well thought out for a year and a half by the Benton County Commissioners, an independent Citizens Advisory Committee, and the Benton County Law and Justice Council.

Unlike past tax measures that might use funds just for more police officers or bigger jails this proposed tax provides a varied, yet targeted, approach to crime and public safety in Benton County. This proposition will put more police on the streets and better staffing of our jail, but it will also fund programs sponsored by organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club to assist youth with an alternative to the gang lifestyle. Additionally, it will allow people to receive needed help through programs such as drug and mental health court.

This tax is not unending and purposely will expire in 10 years requiring voters to reassess its value, evaluate the results and hold city and county governments accountable.

GENE LUCZYNSKI, Kennewick

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