Publisher’s note: This letter was originally posted on March 28. It has been reposted to the home page because of the important nature of the topic.
To the editor:
A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that public employee compensation grew by 28.6 percent, compared with 19.3 percent for private industry employees between 1998 and 2008.
As one of the few, if not only, members of the Edmonds City Council who has publicly declared I will will not vote to tax the people of Edmonds with a general property tax levy until after we negotiate new labor agreements, I understand what we need to do.
The people of Edmonds need to understand that recent budget projections show there is approximately a $9 million increase in projected costs over the next five years and only $4 million in projected additional revenues. That $4 million will cover additional general government operating expenses if labor costs remain constant. However, there is an additional $5 million increase in projected labor costs slated for the next five years. That’s a $5 million dollar hole for the projected 4.2 – 4.8 percent annual increase in labor cost.
Some council members like DJ Wilson repeatedly declare they are ready and willing to vote for a tax increase levy now and negotiate labor cost increases later. I say hold down those labor costs and negotiate labor contracts before even thinking about asking the people of Edmonds to tax themselves for a general fund property tax levy.
Edmonds City Council