"Haigh touts record on education, transportation"

"Democrat Kathy Haigh of Shelton is seeking a second two-year term in the Legislature as the District 35, Position 1 representative.She believes her two years in the Legislature have given her a good handle on issues such as education, transportation and needed reform for taxes and social programs.Haigh believes a gas tax that would hit everyone across the board would be the best and fairest option to pay for road improvements, in the wake of Initiative 695, which drastically slashed road and ferry funding.The state's portion of the gas tax, 23 cents per gallon, is on the volume of gas sold, not on the (per gallon) amount. Because it's on the volume it hasn't kept pace with the cost of building roads, she said.As inflation has gone up, the gas tax has not gone up with it. We need to implement a sales tax on the price of gas, a very low percentage. ... The beauty of it is everybody pays for it, not just the residents (of Washington), but everyone who comes here, Haigh added. There's something kind of right about putting responsibility for paying for roads on the people who use them, Haigh added.But the people of Kitsap will have the final word on whatever tax reform is proposed, Haigh said.It will have to go to a vote of the people. The challenge will be to educate people about what's going on.The fates of roads and ferries are tied together in the race for funding.We have to have some really good vision about where we're going with transportation. Roads alone will not do, she said.We'll need money for ferries, and a lot of good work is being done by the (Legislative) Ferry Task Force which is grappling with the fact that we have to identify funding sources, Haigh said.Haigh thinks the Washington Assessment of Student Learning tests begun over the last few years are a good tool for establishing standards for student learning. She was among the legislators who pushed for a professional standards board for teachers, and the dedication of lottery money solely for education.Although results for fourth, seventh and 10th grade WASL tests have been uneven so far, Haigh said There's going to be some challenge because it's going to be a very different test.Funding for schools is also an issue.I believe the state needs to make a much greater investment ... (and) build flexibility into the funding system, she said. Relying primarily on property taxes for school funding really puts a huge burden on property owners, and in rural areas it's even bigger because they don't have the incomes. We don't have a Boeing or a Microsoft (to absorb some of the tax burden).Local property taxes are funded on the average at 15-16 percent. I believe it should be no more more than 10 percent, she said.Haigh noted that the Department of Social and Health Services seemed to be drawing the real brunt of criticism, with many people calling for it to become more efficient and effective.I do believe one of the problems with the department has been leadership. One of the most significant things that happened (recently) is the DSHS has a new director, with new ideas and some changes planned, she said. But she added, The Legislature doesn't really run that show, the governor does. The heads of the department answer to (him.)Haigh and her husband Gary, both veterinarians, have been Washington residents since 1977. They own and operate the Haigh Veterinarian Clinic in Shelton.A native of Oberlin, Ohio, she said they decided to move out here after graduating from vet school.They have two sons, one a freshman at the University of Washington, and the other a junior at Shelton High School. She said she got involved with politics when her children started public school.I got involved with the local schools, and served on the school board for 12 years. I learned a lot about funding, she said.As a result she came to the conclusion The Legislature didn't have a good understanding of the impact of the decisions they made on public education.She was also active with the Washington Veterinarian Medical Association. of which she is a past president.That work also really got me involved with what was going on in the Legislature, she said. "

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