Some thoughts on the King County (WA) Ballot Proposition 1, “Sales tax for Cultural Access Program”

Some thoughts on the King County (WA) Ballot Proposition 1, “Sales tax for Cultural Access Program”

Here is the text of the ballot measure on the primary ballot in King County, Washington, that includes Seattle and surrounding suburbs.

King County
Proposition No. 1
Sales Tax for Cultural Access Program

The King County Council passed Ordinance No. 18513 to establish and fund a cultural access program. The program would expand access to arts, science, and heritage programming throughout King County. The program would include cultural education in schools and transportation to cultural venues for public school students. The program would also provide funding for cultural organizations to expand programming, including to serve diverse and underserved populations. The cultural access program, including administrative costs, would be funded by a county sales tax increase of one-tenth of one percent for seven years beginning January 1, 2018.  [Emphasis mine]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night, and at a concert last week, the Marketing Manager of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival urged us in the audience to vote in favor of this addition to the Sales Tax in King County.  Being a Cultural Organization, the Seattle Chamber Music Society would get some funding from the sales taxes.  Vote King County a higher sales tax, so we may have some of those funds.

Here are some of my thoughts and questions about this ballot measure.

  1.  King County is the most liberal political unit in the state of Washington.  The residents of King County, and Seattle, rarely saw a tax they didn’t like.  The city of Seattle has numerous times voted to tax its property owners additionally for schools, the homeless, family programs, transportation,  ad infinitum.
  2. The liberals who live in King County are always bemoaning the “regressive” taxation scheme in Washington State, whose Constitution forbids an income tax, and its reliance on sales taxes, which disproportionately fall on the “poor”, “low-income” portion of the population. {An aside–the Seattle City Council has just voted unanimously to institute an income tax on its wealthiest citizens, knowing full well that this is illegal and will be held up by lawsuits from day one}
  3. The Sales Tax in Seattle has already broken the 10% level, and is approaching 10% everywhere else.
  4. If this measure passes, everyone in King County will be paying an extra $.01 in sales taxes on everything they buy.  Yes, those poor, underserved community members will also be paying that extra sales tax on everything they buy, in order that they may have “improved access”, whatever that means, to “cultural programs”.  There is no way to exempt the low-income from paying this additional sales tax.
  5. The money collected from this additional regressive sales tax, will cover “administrative costs”, as stated in the ballot measure above.  Did anyone opine on what percentage of the money collected will go for administration?  Administration includes the costs of collecting the money, allocating it to a special account, deciding which organizations will receive money, and deciding how much will go to each organization.  Employees will have to be hired (and paid, and provided with benefits including pension), to develop an application form and procedure, and then to evaluate the applications as they are received, to decide how the money collected will be spent.
  6. What happens when the cost of living in King County rises by the amount of this additional sales tax on everything you buy?  Might the increase in the cost of a new car discourage someone from buying a new car in King County?  The surrounding counties of Pierce, Snohomish, and Kittitas will not be raising their sales taxes, so a certain amount of purchases of expensive items might go to another county.  Those low-income residents of King County might have to defer purchases into the future, or not buy at all, since their income would not rise to cover the additional expense.  It has been shown that those who advocate for higher taxes rarely take into account the behavior changes that happen when someone experiences an increase in their cost of living.
  7. Who decides which cultural and heritage organizations will receive money from these new “access” funds?  Do faceless bureaucrats in Seattle decide how to allocate this money?  Do they solicit input from the arts community?  Do they give money to organizations whom they know and patronize themselves?  Do they favor the “charity of the month”, like the Gay Pride organization, or the Seattle Symphony?  Do they give money to the ACT Theater, which promotes liberal causes and puts on productions which take gratuitous slaps at a president they don’t like?  Will they be funding the “Resistance”?  Will they solicit input from ALL the people who will be paying higher taxes for the next seven years?
  8. What do they actually mean by “Access”?  Is there an implication that access is now denied to some of the “underserved” population?  Do they know who the underserved are?  How do they determine who is underserved?  And exactly who makes that determination?  What do they mean by “diverse”?  People of color, people of oppressed ethnic groups, people of sexual minorities?

My guess is that those promoting this new tax have not given any consideration to many of my points above, especially the one about our regressive tax system here in Washington State.  They think that everyone will just happily pay more for everything they buy, knowing that those underserved, low-income populations will benefit from their largesse.  It will make the relatively wealthy residents of Seattle feel good, knowing that they are helping those underserved populations get a dose of “culture” that they are being denied now.  Starting in the late 1960s, cultural programs in the Seattle Public Schools were reduced, in order to pay for busing students across the city for desegregation.  These days, the Seattle Public Schools have all sorts of programs devoted to sex-education, environmental education, and “white-privilege” education; and their dropout rates are much higher than they were in the 1960s.  Also, these days 40% of the schools budgets go for administration, eating up funds that could be spent on art and music in the schools.

It will be interesting to see how the residents of King County vote on this new sales tax proposal.  I do not live in King County, so I don’t get to vote on this measure.  But if it passes, I will do my best to spend as little as possible in King County.  See, people DO change their behavior in response to economic incentives.

Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Last week was the Leavenworth (WA) International Accordion Celebration.  Leavenworth is known as “Washington’s Bavarian Village”, and most of its buildings are dressed up in Bavarian Village style.  LIAC consists of four days of accordion competition, performances by local and international groups and individuals, an accordion parade through town, and all sorts of impromptu and organized jam sessions for accordion players and other musicians. In the vestibule of the main concert venue, the “Festhalle:”, accordion dealers set up their tables full of various accordions for sale.  The entire weekend is full of accordions, as far as the eye can see.  Check it out.

IMG_1715

This is a new fountain, in front of the Festhalle.  The shepherd has been given an accordion, so he won’t feel out of place during the Celebration.

IMG_1766

Here are some of the instruments (can you spot the “ringer”?) on offer in the Festhalle lobby.

IMG_0133

Friday night’s entertainment was the Northwest Accordionaires.  Hubby is the farthest player on the right, with his beautiful wood-faced Victoria accordion. (sorry about the bad lighting-they had a bunch of bright LED lights on either side of the stage)

IMG_1720IMG_1721

Here are the accordionists lining up for the parade through town.

IMG_1723

IMG_1725

And, THE PARADE!  Yes, they are marching and playing at the same time.

IMG_1735

 

Destination for the parade is the Gazebo in the middle of downtown.  They all march there, and play a few songs for the cheering crowds of spectators.  You can see that they range in age from little kids to mature adults.

IMG_0135

Saturday night’s entertainment was the husband/wife team of Kim and Dan Christian.  They were very good, and Dan was a fine comedian.

A wonderful time was had by all.

Passion Personified

That’s what we heard last night at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival’s second Winter Interlude concert at the Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.  They had programmed one of my very favorite pieces of chamber music, Gabriel Faure’s Piano Quartet in C Minor.  From the very first note of the first movement, this piece is filled with passion and fire.  We were carried away by last night’s performers: James Ehnes, Violin; Cynthia Phelps, Viola; Yegor Dyatchkov, Cello; and Anton Nel, Piano.  They put their heart and soul into this performance, and the audience was very enthusiastic.  I don’t have video of last night’s performance, but I have the next best thing.  At the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival (on Long Island, New York) in 2014, a group of excellent musicians played this piece, and they were just wonderful.  Also, funny thing, three of those musicians also come to Seattle for the Seattle Chamber Music Summer Festival in July!  Give a listen to this performance, with Gilles Vonsattel, Piano, Jennifer Frautschi, Violin, Cynthia Phelps, Viola, and Clive Greensmith, Cello.  This is Passion Personified.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

This is a small pipe organ, manufactured in Estonia in 1844.  Today, it resides in the Sitka Lutheran Church, in Alaska.  I’m guessing that there aren’t very many of these around.

These are two views of the back of the organ.  Here’s my husband playing it, to give you an idea of why I couldn’t get a picture of the keyboard.  Nowhere to stand!

HubbyPlaying Organ

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/rare/

 

Thoughts on Independence Day

Thoughts on Independence Day

July Fourth is a day to celebrate.  But what do we celebrate?  Funny, but a man-on-the-street survey found that the average person does not know why we celebrate on the Fourth of July.  This is depressing.  If Americans don’t know why July Fourth is important, how are they going to appreciate their country, and how unusual it is?  On July 4, 1776, a most remarkable group of men got together, and literally took their lives and their Sacred Honor in their hands, and declared Independence from Great Britain.

Declaration

This was the beginning of the most important political creation in the history of mankind. For the very first time, a new nation was created, being the union of thirteen separate colonies into the United States of America.  A new nation, founded on an Idea, of Human Liberty, and enlightened Self-Government.  The Colonists came from all over Great Britain, from the Highlands of Scotland to the Fen country of East Anglia, to the South Coast, and everywhere in between.  And from other parts of the world, including France, Poland, Spain, and the Caribbean.  All these disparate people, united by a Grand Idea, vowing to free themselves from the shackles of Britain.

This is a good short film about the Signers of the Declaration, and what they did.

 

It is incumbent upon us, the descendants and recipients of the heritage of America, not to ever forget what our Founding Fathers accomplished.  We must never lose the enthusiasm for our Great and Beautiful Country, which still remains a beacon of Freedom and Prosperity for the rest of the  conflict-ridden world.  Why else would millions of people from all over the world apply to become new Americans, and literally beat down our doors to get in?  Here is what some Immigrants to America think.

Just this week in the Wall Street Journal, a headline read “America Drops Off History Curriculum”.  It seems that there are institutions of higher (?) education in the US that do not require any American History classes of their History majors!  I was astonished to read that only 23 among the colleges rated “best” by a well-regarded magazine require even one US History class of their History majors.  I guess it goes with the information above that many Americans don’t know why we celebrate July 4.  Maybe nobody ever told them why.  Maybe their government schools make it a point to  mention how racist, sexist, and how homophobic America is.  Maybe they are brought up to think that America is a force for evil in the world.    If that is true, it is saddening.  Just think-these misguided individuals will be someday in the highest offices in the land. [come to think of it, the 1960s radicals who run the country now think that Americans are stupid and can be enslaved by bureaucrats in Washington DC]

Central Hall, Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College in Michigan has taught Liberty and Intelligent Piety since 1844.  They are the shining star in Higher Education in America.  They accept not one cent of government money, which allows them to be totally independent.  These days, they are the epitome of American freedom and open-mindedness.

So, tonight when you’re watching the fireworks, remember why we celebrate.  Remember the courageous Founders, who left behind the mother country, and came to a new land, where they and their children could be Free.     Cape May

From Sea….

Newport Beach, California
Pacific Ocean, Newport Beach, CA

To Shining Sea…

God Bless America

Weekly Photo Challenge…Admiration for a Thing of Beauty

I have always admired my violin, which I bought from its maker in 1987, when it was nearly brand new.  David VanZandt lives in Seattle, and every once in awhile I take my beautiful violin home to “Daddy” for him to touch up the varnish and do any needed adjustments.  I found that, once I had my new Guadagnini-copy instrument, it made me a better player.  It sounds so beautiful, my violin teacher said it sounded much like her 18th-century Italian instrument.  It has a warm, brown varnish, and in the sunlight it just glows.  It sounds more beautiful, and becomes more valuable every year.  And it’s a work of art, in addition to being a musical instrument.

Violin front

Violin back

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/admiration/