Posted by: sweeneyblog | April 6, 2013

Ericksen, Buys Push to Raise Taxes on Lynden Residents

UPDATE: Gary Vis of the Lynden Chamber of Commerce makes some important clarification that the money the City of Lynden receives from the Northwest Fair is actually leftover from the sale of the land from the city to the fair back in the 1990s and that revenue stream will be unaffected by Sen. Ericksen and Rep. Buys efforts to exempt the Northwest Fair Association from taxes. You can read about it here

I was digging through the bills Sen. Ericksen and Rep. Buys have sponsored and was shocked to discover they are pushing a bill to raise taxes on their own constituents. Senate Bill 5078 is sponsored by Sen. Ericksen, with a companion bill sponsored by Rep. Buys, and would exempt the Lynden Fair from property taxes. They even bragged about this bill at their town hall.

"Yes, I want to raise taxes on Lynden"

“Yes, I want to raise taxes on Lynden”

What seems to be the problem with that? 61.4% of the City of Lynden’s general fund comes from property taxes, and the Lynden Fair represents a significant amount of that income. Last year, property taxes alone were down 25.29% and just last month, the Lynden School Board held a special meeting to figure out where they were going to come up with the money to keep their schools open.

In the middle of all this, Ericksen and Buys want to take away one of Lynden’s revenue streams, forcing their own constituents to raise taxes or shut down some of their essential functions. Usually, Ericksen claims there is too much government bureaucracy,  but I have a hard time believing there is any sort of meaningful waste in Lynden. It is simply too small, and cutting this revenue will have a significant impact on the people there, in effect, raising their taxes.

 I’m not surprised when Ericksen and Buys take aim at state revenues, but to target their own constituents? Ericksen offered an amendment to ensure the Puyallup Fair would continue to pay taxes, supporting the impoverished community there, but no such compassion for the voters he is supposed to represent.

Right now, Sen. Ericksen’s tax-raising bill has cleared the Republican-controlled Senate and moved into the House. I will continue to track this effort, as should the people of Lynden; Ericksen owes them an explanation.



  1. Actually, Riley, it’s far worse. Our “taxes” have been going up for some time now simply because the revenue is needed to fund government. But, since “we” (collectively, alas) refuse to put in place a progressive income tax, the funds must come from somewhere. So we increase sales taxes, property taxes, taxes on gasoline, alcohol and tobacco. Traffic fines go up, lotteries expand their offerings, permit fees go through the roof. Our elected officials are very good at finding these sources of revenue, most of which are regressive and have negative impact on the economy.

    I tried to explain this to Overstreet. He looked at me confused, tilted his head slightly and walked away….

    Good political reporting. Keep digging and, hey, maybe you’ll end up making some laws yourself.

    • could try something really different…live within our means… our income rises by about 7% and we bemoan the “cuts” because we wanted to spend 15% or more, more…dumb and dumber and dumberer…

  2. This is some good messaging for us. We just need to get it down to a few words that hold emotion and intelligence.

  3. This article may help explain the bill. I don’t think the Northwest Washington Fair as a nonprofit organization has been paying property taxes, so there would be no loss to Lynden.

    • At the town hall, Ericksen said that he wrote this bill with the specific goal of exempting the fair from the taxes it was currently paying, so yes it would apply to our fair.

      • Dave,
        There was a special effort to keep this one fair out of the taxing properties by making an exception for only the NWW Fair by saying this fair was less that ($15 M?) or something specifically exempting it from tax. Our Fair remains tax exempt while making good money for the owners via Gun Shows and lots of enterprises competing with local tax-paying businesses. What ever the behind the scenes dealing, we Lynden property tax payers have a HUGE loss from tax exempt property like the Fair.
        Lynden desperately needs funds for our commonly-owned schools, streets, etc., without getting all the income from property and sales taxes and fees on cash-strapped families.

  4. This is actually pretty disingenuous Riley.

    The Democrat Party’s entire push is aimed at raising taxes…From Obama on down to the Bellingham City Council. Every tax change represents a tax on the party’s constituents but I never hear you say the Democrats in Olympia are somehow flawed because they want to raise taxes on their OWN constituents.

    Aside from the fact that you may, or may not, be correct on the facts your approach, given your ongoing support for the party dedicated to tax increases is well out of bounds.

    • Let’s see. Who is the disingenuous one?. Riley who lays out the facts about a particular bill sponsored by his legislators and then draws a conclusion from those facts or Jack who offers a blanket conclusion about all Democrats without stating facts. Besides, Obama isn’t hiding the fact he wants to raise taxes on the rich nor is he shy about saying why. But it doesn’t look like Rep. Overstreet and Senator Ericksen have been as candid with Lynden voters about the effect of their “tax cut” bill.

      • Now will a Petree relative please defend JacK 🙂

  5. After reading the Capital Press article it’s not clear to me just how Senate Bill 5078 will actually effect the Lynden Fair Grounds. The Grounds are a non-profit business now, not controlled by any government entity. Have they always been a tax exempt organization throughout their history? Lynden benefits from the Fair in other ways having it in their city. And as for Mr. Petre’s comments I find them very uninformed and full of Republican Talking Points. The problem with this point of view is that the underlying idea is that Government can run without taxes. And, that is only true IF a person does not believe in our Government and the obligation we all have to pay our taxes. What we need to talk about is all the ways in which the Republican’s want to privatize all government entities or “drown them in a bath tub”!

    • I’m not saying that having the fair is a bad thing, I’m saying that this bill will cut a significant amount of tax revenue out of Lynden’s coffers which will result in a tax increase on the residents there. That was my point. I believe the fair is a great resource for our community.

  6. I LOVED the comments by letstalkfamily. He/she are so right. I am new at following and becoming familiar and educated on the politicical news of our local and state governments and the country, but it seems like a no brainer to me, that if we are going to have good education available for our children; clean air to breathe; clean water to drink; safe foods and medications, we have to have Govenment agencies that will help insure that we have all of these things. In order to have these agencies, we need revenue; however, to raise taxes on their own constituents, and then exempt the Lynden Fair’s tax revenue is absolutely ludicrous! I wasn’t surprised by their actions. I wonder what they think the future generation of Lynden’s children will have to look forward to? I am not surprised by very much the Republican Party does anymore.

  7. If Riley is quoting Doug correctly, then either Doug is wrong of the Fair’s Manager and the Fair Association woman are wrong.

    I can’t imagine Doug Erickson doing something to raise taxes on citizens.

    Jack Petree makes a good point about your being disingenuous in not calling out Democrats for wanting to fund government. Of course, if you (and he), decide to run for City Council, disingenuity is something you will need to hone.

    • I’m not saying it is bad to want to fund government, I am arguing that it runs counter to Ericksen’s rhetoric.

      • Not only counter to his rhetoric but to his core beliefs, however misguided they may be. The question raised by the article is whether your supposition that the Fair has been paying property tax is counter to fact

      • I’m double-checking that now, since the budget documents I’m looking at from the City of Lynden show it as a part of their budget, and Alice Werkema backs that up, but I will double-check and update the article as necessary.

  8. Non Profit – An accounting trick devised to allow riches without responsibilities.

    • A tax “increase” I can support… bring an end to the so called “non-profit” corporation… These days the only companies making a profit are the corporate giants who can buy their way into favored position and, the non-profits.

      • Finally something we can agree on.
        But I’d ditch the non-profit status and retain the charitable deduction for those who donate which means more in terms of cash flow towards a good cause than the ultimate bottom line even with tax load included.

  9. […] and hope to sit down with him in the next week. In the meantime, I will have a follow-up on Sen. Doug Ericksen’s tax increase on Lynden residents and candidate announcements before the […]

  10. […] I will have an article about all the County Council excitement and Monday I have a follow-up on Doug Ericksen’s tax increase on Lynden residents. But for now, all the news that is fit to […]

  11. […] week, I published an article about Sen. Doug Ericksen and Rep. Vincent Buys bill to raise the taxes on Lynden residents by […]

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