Census returns varying widely across 15th Legislative District

The rate of 2010 Census returns are varying widely across Central Washington, and some communities have returned less than 50 percent of the forms.

Here are some figures regarding the four counties in the district (figures as of April 6):
• Clark County: 63 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 76 percent)
• Klickitat County: 59 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 68 percent)
• Skamania County: 52 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 56 percent)
• Yakima County: 62 percent (2000 Census participation rate: 73 percent)

Also of note are these 15th District communities with return rates below 50 percent, and well below the statewide average return rate of 63 percent (figures as of April 6):
• Wapato: 40 percent
• Granger: 44 percent
• Bingen: 46 percent
• Mabton: 47 percent

It is crucial that we do our part for our communities, and one of the most important ways we can make sure our views are represented is by returning our census forms. Making sure the people of our district are fairly represented will ultimately mean more of our hard-earned tax dollars coming back to our communities. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than 400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, and public works projects.

It is vital for those communities to take part in the census.

Our agriculture communities make up the economic backbone of our state. Unfortunately, the interests of farmers and ranchers are often overshadowed by the interests of those in big cities. Given the efforts in Olympia to implement costly new taxes on fertilizer, fuel and small business and farm owners, rural Washingtonians need to speak up and be counted, now more than ever.

In addition, not sending in the simple form means that more tax dollars will be spent on completing the census. The federal government will send someone to knock on doors to complete the count. This would prove costly with almost half the citizens remaining to count.

For additional details, go to www.2010census.gov/2010census/take10map/.