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1 WINDUPBIRD DISEASE [S.K.U.M.M.]  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 2:08:39am

I was a king county resident for 21 years, this does not surprise me in the slightest

2 Steve Dutch  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 5:53:00am

Okay, let's have a little statistical honesty here. The chart is in terms of dollars received and sent. If it were in terms of absolute dollars then Puget Sound and Spokane would dominate the map. A little money spent in a small rural county looks really huge.

And unless you plan to flap your arms and fly from Seattle to Spokane, you need roads. And they cross pretty empty country. So maintaining them will mean more dollars spent in those areas than taken in. Also, urban folks like state parks, which are likely to be out in the wide open spaces.

Washington does not have an individual income tax but has a business tax. How does that affect tax distributions?

Finally, let's see what the money is spent on. How much is spent on infrastructure that is enduring and broadly beneficial, versus regulatory and private benefits that are not?

3 kirkspencer  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 6:38:39am

re: #2 SteveDutch

Do farm subsidies count as regulatory and private benefits?

Of course, it's my opinion that a lot of regulation turns out to be broadly beneficial. I don't like living downstream from a pig farmer who just sluices everything into the drinking water, just to give one example.

4 Locker  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 6:40:27am

So "statistical honesty" means including a bunch of shit to game the results so they come out in a way you'd prefer? I think it's pretty damn obvious and your "infrastructure" argument is a bunch of crap as the amount of roads, lights, emergencies, utilities and EVERYTHING else is a much higher cost of operation than some rural bump in the road.

I think the argument that conservatives bitch about taxes while taking the most tax money is definitely strengthened by this information. Even if you don't like it.

5 kirkspencer  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 6:45:39am

huh - and it also appears, SteveDutch, that you didn't follow the link. The original author reports some of the breakouts. Department of Social and Health Services, for example, which is welfare in all our minds, spends more per capita in those red counties of the map than it does on the big ones.

So it appears that the only valid argument you have is that more is spent in King in absolute dollars than is spent elsewhere. Of course that faces the fact that more is earned and collected (by absolute dollars) in King than in the rest.

6 What, me worry?  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 7:43:58am
But perhaps the most glaring example of our rural welfare state comes in the category of "welfare" itself, where 2008 data from the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) clearly illustrates just how dependent on Western Washington tax dollars many Eastern Washingtonians have become. King County, home to our state's largest concentration of urban poor, drew only $538 of DSHS expenditures per capita, ranking it 30th out of 39 counties. Meanwhile, such bastions of self-proclaimed self-sufficiency as rural Adams, Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Okanogan Counties consumed per capita DSHS benefits of over $900, while Yakima County—Washington's "fruit basket"—topped the charts at $1,129 per person.

To put this level of dependency in perspective, 83 cents out of every dollar Yakima County sends to Olympia is paid back in DSHS benefits alone. Tiny Ferry County actually receives more in just DSHS benefits—$1.14 on the dollar—than the total tax revenues it pays to the state! Schools, corrections, higher education, everything else... that's all gravy.

The irony here is not that those who benefit most from state spending are paying the least; that's kinda the way these things are supposed to work. No, the irony is that those rural communities that are most dependent on the state—whose roads and schools and other essential public services couldn't possibly be maintained without generous state subsidies—are also those least likely to vote for the tax dollars necessary to sustain these services. Just look at the map on the previous page: Those counties that receive the most money back on the dollar are also those that are most likely to vote Republican. But it's a disconnect that just can't continue forever.

I'm really at the point where I want to say, cut the damn Welfare already. Just chop it to hell. Let them suffer and let them know WHY they are suffering.

7 Steve Dutch  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 11:27:58am

There is not a single raw figure in the entire article. Everything is per capita, per dollar, etc. I want to know just how many of those people in Yakima County who are drawing benefits there actually are.

On the other hand, if it were an article on corporate profits, we'd get raw figures. "MaxiMegaCo made $20 billion last year." Don't tell us their profit margin was 2%. Or (I actually had a petition person come to the door with this) "Did you know XXXOil paid no taxes in this state last year?" Me: "So how much business did they do in this state?" Petitioner: "Durrr..."

Since when is context "gaming?"

8 Prideful, Arrogant Marriage Equality Advocate  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 12:07:20pm

re: #6 marjoriemoon

lol. I am at that point also.

9 Steve Dutch  Mon, Feb 14, 2011 3:56:31pm

Ooh. Guess what you find out from a more detailed map of Washington. You know Yakima County? "The biggest per capita drain on the State teat?" That wouldn't be because much of the county is the Yakima Indian Reservation, would it? And Okonagon County, the second highest per capita welfare outlay? The Colville Indian Reservation. Grays Harbor County? The Quinault Reservation. Now welfare for poor Indian Reservations is certainly justified. But pretending it's going to selfish rural Republicans is outright lying.

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