Bold Colors Blog

Stickin’ it to the libs, one day at a time

Spending or slashing–which is it?

Posted by Liberty on January 10, 2009

State Budget: Legislature has unique opportunity

In the editorial section on the [doomed] Seattle P-I’s web page today, this headline caught my eye.  We do have a new session of the Washington State legislature beginning January 12.  With a huge budget gap looming, the potential for new taxes is something we need to be on the lookout for.  The economy undoubtedly has some role in the budget crisis but the main problem is spending.  Of the Governor’s budget, House Minority leader Richard DeBolt said that it was a good start but that the problem lies with spending, not revenue. 

Rather than facing the spending problem, however, Democrats are doubling down on the policies that have brought Washington to a $6+ billion deficit.

“At a briefing last week, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said legislators need to look for more alternatives to the governor’s budget. House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, even added spending ideas, talking about new transportation partnerships and health care. ‘We’re serious about keeping the state’s promise to have health care coverage for every child by 2010,’ he said. On top of that, Democrats will propose an economic stimulus package this week.”

Of course, the P-I editorial board supports quite a bit of the Democrat spending agenda–especially the bit about health care coverage for children.  How could anyone say no to the children, after all?  [How about opening up competition in the health insurance market so more parents could afford to take responsibility for insuring their children themselves?!]  At the end of the article, they do mention the idea of trimming the scope of the state government.  I think this is where the real solution to the budget crisis is at but unfortunately, the P-I treats the issue more as a symbolic measure than a concrete one.

“The state budget picture is going to grow worse (we can only imagine what December’s sales tax figures will look like) and the Legislature is not going to succeed if the discussion centers on cutting budgets. There should be an emphasis on strategy before numbers. Can state agencies and programs be combined? Are there more programs that can be eliminated entirely? (For example, commissions and boards don’t add big numbers to the budget, but they are symbolic about the many branches of government. Trimming them would a clear way to signal a leaner government.)”

I think the P-I may be headed in the right direction here but let’s get past the symbolism and more to the substance, shall we?  By all means, dump the boards and commissions, along with all of the time, manpower and money that they waste.  And continue cutting from there!

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