Budgets, Banks, & Tiramisu


Since we’re chewing the county budget today – still – I thought we better start where all decent meals should: Dessert. Why? Because, as a well-known P.L. Travers character once warbled, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” (If you didn’t get that, see me after class. Or check out Saving Mr. Banks.)

Anyway, BYO fork and scare up the nearest plate of raspberry white chocolate cheesecake with double hot fudge. (If you’re short on the former, substitute tiramisu. Nobody’s perfect.) Feel better? Good. Because the budget has been a source of major Harbor heartburn. If you’re keeping score, it kinda looks like:

  • $2.5M deficit
  • First round budget proposals by Commissioners Wes Cormier and Vickie Raines trimming between $1.2M and $1.4M from the 2015 budget.
  • Commissioner Frank Gordon proposing a three-tenths of one percent sales tax increase, to kick in in 2016.
  • A third courtroom/criminal justice building project currently estimated at a cool $56.6M.
  • A $2.5M deficit (yeah, still there)


At Monday’s morning briefing, Commissioner Raines said she met with five mayors and six police chiefs last Friday. She reported that these peeps say they have no intention of putting the 3/10s of one percent sales tax hike on the ballot “at this time.” Raines said these electeds will contact the commissioners “when they decide to move forward.”

Need another dessert fork?

Okay, to be fair: The current commish triumvirate didn’t just fall out of bed and wake up to a $2.5M budget hole yesterday. That puppy was years in the making. (Hi, Al Carter, Terry Willis, Mike Wilson and Co.)

Republicans had a two-year majority on the county commission with Wes Cormier and former commish Herb Welch – for the first time in about 80 years. At least on paper. Welch sided with Democrat Frank Gordon more often than not, leaving Cormier the lone fiscal conservative voice crying in the wilderness in most 2 to 1 votes. Aka: The Adult in the Room.

Would the county be facing down an Alaskan-sized deficit if more commish slates had been majority or all red over the last eight-ish decades? Maybe. Maybe not. But to cite a dreadfully over-used cliché:

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

So, Grays Harbor: Why do you keep electing Democrats? Hello? Isn’t it time for a change… ‘in a most delightful way’?


Photo credit: Pixabay – Public domain