Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cuts Aren't Balanced

I know it has been a while since I last posted, but have been up to my eyeballs in some new stuff.  I’ll cover this in another post in the next day or two.

On to the posts

Many of you are aware that the state of Washington is struggling to balance its budget. Poor revenue forecasting and just plain old decreasing revenue has caused another huge shortfall in what the state is going to bring in and what it has to spend. Like most states (and unlike the feds) Washington State is required by its Constitution to balance the budget. Because of the lack of income, the Governor and state legislature are trying to deal with the $1.2 billion gap.

Initially I have been a supporter of the tough decisions that Christine Gregoire has made. In times of budget constraints, there really aren’t any sacred cows anymore. But recent events have made me reconsider both my support and my opinion.

Some of the proposed budget cuts just don’t seem to pass the smell test. IN a recent news letter, my state representative in Olympia sent out a newsletter that covers some of the Gregoire’s proposed budget cuts.

She has suggested a 20 percent cut to senior citizen services, while only cutting four percent of the Department of Ecology. Based on the figures that I have seen, the actual dollar amounts are relatively similar. But in times of budget constraints, do we cut dollars, or do we cut a percentage of the budget? One fairly consistent cry from the left is that taxes need to be raised and Gregoire has proposed a .5% increase in the sales tax. But don’t even think about cutting the budget of any of their babies. Is there any funding being cut from the so-called Green Highway Project that Gregoire and the left have promoted so heavily over recent years? Not that I have seen.

She also wants to fully fund state employees’ salary increases to the tune of $11.5 million, but want to trim $9.2 from the developmentally disabled programs. So Gregoire is putting the salary demands of state workers (and their very vocal union) above those who really can’t defend themselves. Aren’t the democrats the self-proclaimed party of the downtrodden?

And she also has proposed cutting $450,000 from the Family Policy Council while continuing to fund $476,000 for sick-leave payments to state employees. Not talking a whole lot of money here when compared to the overall need for cuts, but it is very telling. Unions get what they want, families get shafted.

Notice a trend here? Each of the programs that are seeing continued full funding or insignificant cuts are all liberal/progressive core constituents. You know and I know that if step increases in pay and paying off unused sick-leave are targeted by the Governor, there will be protests at the Capital building like what we saw in Wisconsin earlier this year. The developmentally disabled, senior citizens, and poor families are not organized or politically active enough to warrant any concern from the democrat controlled state legislature or our Gregoire.

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