We believe in fiscal responsibility. We believe the city should not cut a revenue stream without a plan to replace that revenue or a plan to cut spending.
Last year’s budget hearings were arduous and difficult as the council and the city staff struggled to deal with an $8,000,000 deficit. To balance the budget, positions were cut including in the police department, firefighters agreed to give up a contractual pay raise and all departments took cuts with the Parks and Recreation Department taking a major cut. In addition, taxes were raised on Tukwila businesses.
Gambling in the form of social card rooms is legal in Washington. To operate, they must follow strict regulations. Social card rooms are also called casinos and are located in many cities surrounding Tukwila. Card rooms have been responsible businesses in Tukwila for over 12 years. They provide over $2,000,000 in tax revenue to our city annually.
Voting to end gambling means rejecting $2,000,000 every year. Anti-gaming proponents do not say how this short fall should be addressed. It has been alleged that an unnamed council member believes that $2,000,000 could be cut from the budget “without affecting essential services”. What is meant by essential services? That vague phrase has a different meaning for every individual.
Where might they propose cuts? Do they think the city should close a fire station, eliminate police positions, eliminate more youth and senior programs, eliminate/reduce support for human services, eliminate/reduce code enforcement, eliminate/reduce community development and planning, reduce needed road, pipe or other infrastructure repairs or eliminate any of the many other city positions and programs which make our city a good, safe place for families to live? Do they wish to eliminate the Backyard Wildlife Fair, the now smaller but still fabulous Fourth of July celebration or the Dr. Seuss program which draws many families and does such a great job of promoting literacy in our youth? While the big Tukwila Days celebration died in the last budget cuts, the Parks and Recreation Department has been creative and produced some smaller family events this summer. Should those go as well?
With sharply declining monetary support from the state and federal level, our city cannot afford to reject $2,000,000 in revenue from businesses which are responsible members of our community.
Vote yes on Advisory Measure No. 1 on Nov. 8.