Opinion

Proposition 1: fact, logic and truth

The opposition to Proposition 1 (Veterans and Homeless levy) that will appear on the November ballot is based on fact, logic, and truth. Conspiracy and fear mongering are not part of that argument.

Fact is that the existing Veterans Assistance Fund (VAF) is a property tax levy, mandated by law, and is not impacted or eliminated by Prop 1. The VAF levy mandates a minimum allocation of 1 1/8 cents per thousand to that fund. A maximum of 27 cents per thousand may be allocated. Logic says that if additional VAF funds are required, the commissioners could provide those monies from the general fund. If additional tax revenues are required, logic prevails that asking for a 1 cent per thousand lid lift would be appropriate. Truth is that the commissioners chose to go with a complete new levy.

Fact is that the Prop 1 levy uses the same authority in law as the existing VAF levy. There is no allowance under the RCW for a second veterans levy. Truth is that the association of “veterans” with Prop 1 is for the marketing value and little else.

Fact is that the county has no specific plan for use of the funds to be collected under Prop 1. The resolution authorizing Prop 1 outlines use in only the most general terms. Logic indicates that there is no existing hard data to support the proposal. Truth is that much of the first year revenue will be to determine the exact needs and how the funds should be spent and then to draft plans.

Fact is that state law mandating the current VAF also established specific qualification parameters for “veterans” who may benefit from the fund. Prop 1 opens access to virtually anyone who was in the military regardless of period of service or class of discharge. Truth is that Prop 1 serves to circumvent the provisions of existing law.

Fact is that Prop 1 has a “goal” of 5 percent for administrative fees. The VAF currently pays about $50,000 for a part time employee on a base of $400,000 or 12.5 percent. Logic indicates that the organizations that receive grants to provide services normally operate with a 10 to 15 percent overhead and that will not decrease. The truth is that overhead cost for the program will actually be in the 12 to 15 percent range.

Facts clearly indicate that Prop 1 was poorly conceived and is poorly supported by fact. Truth is that voters routinely reject library, school, and fire district levies based on lack of detail. Logic indicates Proposition 1 deserves the same rejection.  No is the appropriate vote.

 

Jack Hamilton is a Silverdale resident, Chairman of the Kitsap County Republican Party , a member of several veterans organizations and the author of the opposition statement against  Propostion 1 on the November ballot.

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