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It has been a long 959 days since the world came to an abrupt halt due to SARS CoV2, aka coronavirus disease of 2019, aka COVID-19. On March 16, 2020, the Governor of Washington State enacted the Emergency Powers Act which he finally relinquished on October 31, 2022 and our state has been returned to a Representative Republic as it should have been throughout this and any emergency. It is my greatest hope that the 2023 legislative session in Olympia will either remove the existing Emergency Powers Act, or revise it to a very limited and defined role that cannot usurp the responsibility of our elected representatives from their consitutional obligation to represent the voters.

So what happened over the ensuing 959 days besides the lockdown, shutdown, and violation of individual civil rights? A plethora of new taxes and regulations which neutured our local law enforcement officers and agencies from protecting your property. We have all been living through the destruction of our public safety because of the 2020 laws which disabled protection and has been the catalyst for a huge surge in crime, drug use, and mental health disorders. But are you aware of all the new TAXES which were passed by our local, state, and federal governments? I am certain there are more than these which I have posted to this article, but it is a good starting point to wake people up that this is a lot more than a latte-per-month, week, or day.

Let us start off with the January 29th, 2008, Whatcom County 10-year plan to end homelessness:


Affordable Housing Fund - 0.66%
Hospital District Fund - 0.07%
Mental Health Fund Balance - $30,250,704.80
Developmental Disability Fund Balance - $539,468.45

inflationWhat is coming in 2023 that you may or may not be aware of:

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) rate increase of 12.9%


Cascade Natural Gas rate increase of 22.8%


COMCAST rate increase 11%


Sanitary Service Company (SSC) rate increase: 60-gallon weekly disposal rate increased to $188 or $488 per month.


Washington State Cares Act reinstated: Employee tax of $0.58 on every $100 of qualified wages (Example: $3000 gross/100 = $300x0.58 = $17.40).


Household property and car insurance rate increased by approximately 14.8% (this varies widely as business insurance rates went up approx 25%).


Washington State Capital Gains tax 7% on any gain over $250,000 (it is currently under litigation and the Inslee Admin/Ferguson keeps appealing the WA State Supreme Courts striking down of this unconstitutional tax).


Rent increases in Whatcom County are at an all time high due to all of the above and the Inslee Admin. executive order to prevent eviction for nonpayment of rent/utilities, etc.


Food at home inflation 13%


Food at business/restaurants 91.4%


Average/Median Single Family Home in Whatcom County $543,000 with $20,000 down for a 30-year fixed loan at a rate of 7.5% will cost $3657.00 per month; a monthly cost which does not include PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) or homeowners insurance and annual property taxes.


Bellingham City Council's monthly utiltity rate hike as noted in May 2022:

Earlier Bellingham Herald reporting indicated that sewer rates would double or triple when the city builds anaerobic digesters that turn human waste into fertilizer, replacing the incinerators that burn solid the matter left after water is filtered out of sewage. But now it’s looking like customers could be paying sewer rates as much as four times higher than the current rate of $47 a month. “This project is not cheap, there’s no way to sugar-coat that,” Public Works Director Eric Johnston said at a meeting of the City Council’s Public Works and Natural Resources Committee on Monday afternoon, May 9.

Read more at: https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article261255477.html#storylink=cpy


**Washington State CO2 emission tax of $0.46 per gallon regular gas and $0.56 per gallon for diesel fuel.


Potential property tax increase for Emergency Medical Services special levy tax renewal/increase from approx. $0.195 to $0.29 per $1000 property valuation: That $543,000 home / $1000 = $543 x $0.29 = $157.47 annually added to your property tax bill.


Potential property tax increase for Childcare special levy asks for an additional $0.19 per $1000 property valuation. That $543,000 home / $1000 = $543 x ($0.19 + existing $0.75 = $0.94 total property tax) = $510.42 annually added to your property tax bill.


Washington State's Paid Family Medical Leave payroll tax will increase (from $0.004 in 2020/21, which increased to $0.006 in 2022, and set to increase to $0.008 in 2023. Employers with less than 50 full-time equivalent employees are exempt from paying this tax). 2022 Rates at .006 per $1 earned: Employee 73.22% Employer 26.78% -- New 2023 Rates at .008 per $1 earned: Employee 72.76 Employer 27.24%.


**City of Bellingham's Mayor Fleetwood wants to implement a carbon tax in Bellingham, but pulled it because he did not want to negatively affect the EMS and Childcare Special Property Tax increase levies.

Had enough? Let's not forget that the Whatcom County Flood Fund was depleted to give grants to watershed properties along Northshore Drive to re-landscape those properties in the hopes of reducing phosphorus entry into Lake Whatcom. Then the Whatcom County Council voted to increase that flood tax to try to quickly restore the balance and have more money to dole out in grants for re-landscaping. But when the floods of 2020, 2021 happened, and the potential flooding for 2023, the Flood Fund, which had multi-millions of dollars in it, was and continues to be used/abused for projects outside of the voter approved intent.

Vote NO until the leadership in Bellingham/Whatcom County and Small Cities get a grip on the fiscal priorities for the reason government exists...it is not to tax the working people into equitable poverty...it is to promote economic vitality and the ability for small, medium, and large businesses to bring production, manufacturing, and service opportunities to our community. A vibrant community is one which allows the equal opportunity to work, live, play affordably because there are many choices available to us all.

~ Kris Halterman