Business letter has some factual inaccuracies

Not all government departments are 100 percent employed.

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “Businesses — time to open up your doors”, published Aug. 19, 2020.

The following response is written as the opinion of a private citizen and not as an employee of the State of Washington.

I have to say that I agree with most of the ideas of Ted DeVol in the letters to the editor and I personally feel that we in this state cannot keep going for much longer in the direction that the state seems to be leading us. We will collapse the communities, the businesses and the state’s revenues. It has become a cascading fail situation.

One topic that I do have to strongly disagree with is Ted DeVol’s assertion that ‘government employees are at close to 100 percent employed’. I am a state government employee and I can tell you, in my agency, DSHS/DDA we are currently understaffed, unable to hire anyone other than temporary direct care staff and nearly all non-direct care staff being furloughed until the end of the year. What ‘direct care’ staff means in our case, is any staff caring directly for our developmentally disabled patients who cannot care for themselves. This is required 24 hours a day, seven days per week. We are essential state government employees, just ask our patients. I cannot speak for the employees of other agencies within the state government but I believe that they too are being furloughed, given additional work to get us all through this pandemic, answering requests for unemployment, keeping roads and facilities maintained, medical treatment, licensing and permits – all necessary for basic life to go on.

I disagree too with the comment “private businesses are the lifeblood of government by supplying close to 100 percent of the money it takes to fund every government expense. Private businesses pay for all local and state employees including teachers, police, firefighters, etc.”

Businesses alone do not pay close to 100 percent for the teachers, firefighters and police. Businesses may be a major part of the revenue needed to fund these essential services, but there are many other sources that do so too. The federal government allocates money to help pay for teachers, firefighters and police. In fact, it’s done so to the amount of at least $470 billion nationwide since 1981. State and individual city resources from many different budgets make up a large percentage as well as local levies.

Would you prefer that teachers, firefighters and police all be defunded? Certainly the firefighters and police provide protection for your businesses to operate safely.

David Griffin