Opinion

Time for a few answers | Editorial

Rep. Jeff Morris, above, will join fellow 40th District legislators Sen. Kevin Ranker and Rep. Kristine Lytton at a community forum Monday at the San Juan Island Library, noon to 2 p.m. The forum is sponsored by San Juan Island
Rep. Jeff Morris, above, will join fellow 40th District legislators Sen. Kevin Ranker and Rep. Kristine Lytton at a community forum Monday at the San Juan Island Library, noon to 2 p.m. The forum is sponsored by San Juan Island's League of Women Voters.
— image credit: File photo

The numbers are crunched. The die is cast. And Washington state’s latest two-year financial plan, for better or for worse, has been set in motion.

It’s not a pretty picture, as you may have heard.

And while it certainly couldn’t have been an easy task to slash $5 billion dollars or so out of the state’s next two-year budget, which goes into effect beginning July 1, that anticipated shortfall in revenue is part of the hand which was dealt to the 2011 legislative session and among the cards that your elected representatives had to play.

Do you wonder why lawmakers felt it necessary to cut state support for teachers salaries by nearly 2 percent in each of the next two years? Or why you’ll be paying $10 a day, or forking over $30 for an annual pass, in order to park your car at Lime Kiln, Moran or Spencer Spit state parks? Or, with a nearly 6-percent hike in ferry fares and a 25-cent fuel surcharge looming on the horizon, whether there’s any end in sight at all to the ever-increasing cost of traveling onboard the state ferry system?

Well, here's your chance to get answers to questions such as those above.

On Monday, June 13, the elected representatives from the state’s 40th legislative district, which includes the San Juans, will be at the San Juan Island Library and expecting, one would think, to field some tough questions. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the forum gets under way at noon (there will also be a brief presentation about the library district’s proposed property-tax increase, which will be on this year’s primary ballot).

We applaud the League for bringing our state representatives to the island for such a forum. It’s both timely and important. And kudos as well to Sen. Kevin Ranker and Rep. Jeff Morris and Rep. Kristine Lytton for making themselves available.

One would assume all three  will bring along an in depth understanding of the state’s financial woes, an explanation for the decisions that were made and, perhaps more importantly, an idea or two about how to weather this drop in state support, and how islanders can prepare for the future.

Let’s put them to the test.

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