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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yakima County Republicans oppose emergency medical services

Defying logic, the Yakima County Republican party has decided that funding first-responders isn't worth it.
The Yakima County Republican Party is against Yakima’s proposed EMS levy.

“We encourage the city’s leaders to do what many of us are doing: tighten their belts and learn to live within their existing budget,” county party Chairman Max Golladay wrote in a statement released today.
While Yakima isn't New York City, in light of 9-11, I'd like Max Golladay to use that line on the victim of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or other emergency, or the family member of someone who has a stroke or suddenly goes into cardiac arrest. Tell that to the family whose house is on fire, Max.

"Tighten your belt" and "live within your means" have been standard GOP fare since Ronald Reagan (or maybe Barry Goldwater, but I'm not up on my Republican dogma, for obvious reasons). Of course tightening your belt and living within your means only apply to policies and causes the Republicans oppose, and don't apply to no-bid contracts for cronies or corporate welfare with no strings attached. Times have changed but the GOP hasn't, which is just one reason why we refer to it as the Graveyard of Progress.
For the owner of a $168,000 home, the city EMS levy would add an extra $42 per year.

Backed by city leaders and Fire Chief Charlie Hines, it would generate $1.3 million a year in new tax revenue. Hines would use it to hire 12 new firefighters and a dispatcher.
$42 per year translates to 11.5 cents per day. That's hardly a burden.

For the common good, there are certain things that the common wealth must pay for. Most Americans would agree that emergency medical services are not a luxury, they're a necessity. An investment in firefighters and EMTs results in lives saved and potentially lower property damage costs.

If you have an emergency and need a first responder in Yakima, can you afford to dial 911 and get no response? If Max Golladay and the Yakima County Republicans have their way, one day that's precisely what you'll get.


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