Letter: Government priorities

June 14, 2014 

Congratulations to Larry Ruffin (Letters, May 28) for his analysis of the proposed sales tax increase for police and safety.

It seems that government's solution to providing everything that it deems necessary is to increase taxes. Government needs to make some of the hard choices as it decides which services to provide.

The idea that additional taxes are needed to provide the government services is dismissing the fact that the tax baseline for Benton County has also increased as the area has grown, thus growing the budgets for the government agencies.

I believe that a municipality's budget should be spent first on providing essential services, such as police protection, fire protection, potable water, sewer service and streets. Once those essentials are fully funded, then the remaining "nice-to-haves" are funded at some level deemed appropriate by the elected officials.

If a police agency has not increased as the population has grown, that is a result of a thing called priorities, which is why we have elected competent officials to make those tough decisions.

Voters need to remember how their elected officials view the essential priorities when a budget crisis comes and the first thing they want to cut is police/fire protection, instead of the "nice-to-haves."

LEE ROBERTS, Kennewick

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