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.
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.