Ballots for the Aug. 6 primary ballot are being put in the mail today. The election is important for those few races with primary contests, but for one ballot issue this election is the decider.

The measure to renew the three-10ths of 1 percent sales tax to support criminal justice efforts is on the primary ballot and its fate will be decided by primary voters.

All the more reason for people to open their ballots this week and mark yes on this issue.

This tax was first approved in 2007 and to remain in place. The first two tax measures were for seven year periods (this one on the books expires in 2021), but at this election voters will be making the tax permanent.

Taxes, in general, have few fans, but the three-10ths tax is the type of targeted, accountable tax measure voters can support.

As we all know, the county has grown since 2007. It is a fact when that population increases so do the call volumes to law enforcement. Most people would consider Kittitas County and its individual communities as safe places to live., but we are not immune to crimes found in larger cities — whether violent or drug-associated.

Having a safe community means investing in law enforcement and all services associated with law enforcement.

One of the strengths of the three-tenths tax is the more people who live here, the more who pay the tax, creating a built-in way to accommodate some of the growth needs. It is also paid by people who are just visiting. This is justifiable because a good percentage of people who commit crimes in this county are just visiting.

Another main strength of the tax is regardless of which community you live in, you can find out exactly how the tax was spent. You can often meet the person the tax has helped hire.

If you like that the Ellensburg School District has a full-time school resource officer, and most people do, the tax has helped pay for that person.

You can decide for yourself, whether you support the use of the tax for the purposes used or not. One of the biggest knocks against taxes on the state and federal level is you never know where the money has gone of if it’s made a difference.

You know if the three-tenths tax has made a difference in Ellensburg, Kittitas, Cle Elum-Roslyn-South Cle Elum or Kittitas County because agencies in those jurisdictions can tell you how the money was spent.

Not all the money is spent in ways as publicly notable as the school resource officer, but helping pay for anti-crime unit officers, an evidence clerk or a deputy prosecutor is also critical to the overall criminal justice system in the county.

The three-tenth’s of 1 percent sales tax for criminal justice services has made a difference in this county. Approving this tax will allow it to continue to do so.


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