Post by Carl Ballard
I know this is kind of old, but I find it strange how much praise the Republicans are putting on Gregoire’s budget. Even if they do think it doesn’t go far enough.
OLYMPIA… Sen. Joseph Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, offered this statement in response to the release of the governor’s proposed biennial budget for 2011-13.
What will these retrograde assholes say?
“It appears the governor has given the Legislature a good place to start. Once we get into the details I expect we will disagree with some of her choices, especially considering the commitment Senate Republicans have made to protect the most vulnerable residents of our state. At the same time, some of what she proposes is what we need to make the state budget sustainable over the long term. Her budget includes more fund transfers, but at least we’re not seeing every budget gimmick in the book.
Wait, what? I’m not sure who the most vulnerable are, but are right wing senate Republicans attacking Gregoire’s budget for not being liberal enough? I know it’s a trap and all. And that the Republican’s commitment to “the most vulnerable” probably doesn’t include, for example, the urban poor. Or the poor at all. Still, what?
Hey, if you had some commitment to the poor, perhaps you should have come out for figuring out how to make our tax system more fair instead of applauding a proposal to eliminate Basic Health.
“Judging from this budget the governor is open to making government smaller. That makes sense given the smaller amount of revenue available. To me, the way we get to a smaller government is not by asking ‘What do we cut?’ but ‘What do we fund?’ and ‘How can we do things better and more efficiently?” based on the priorities of government process. I have concerns about the governor’s approach to reducing personnel costs, and her proposed consolidation of state agencies seems more a case of rearranging than reforming. The 15 million dollars that would be saved in a year by merging agencies may not even cover what is lost through fraud and abuse in the state’s social and health services programs over that same amount of time.
So eliminate all fraud in social and health services is a better plan than things she can actually do. Of course any budget should aim to root out fraud, but I don’t see how you can actually make a statement like that: Fraud isn’t a line item.
“When we begin the 2011 session next month Republicans will again be ready with cost-saving ideas that didn’t make it into the governor’s budget. Those include allowing state-employee health savings accounts, changing qualifications for social services, reforming the bilingual education system and allowing private-sector competition when it comes to providing public services, to name several. We have proposals that the Legislature can no longer afford to ignore.
So cutting employee health benefits, presumably. I don’t suppose they’ll put the legislative health plan on the block first. Anyway, how do you know they aren’t interested in actually protecting the vulnerable? Well, because they like the Governor’s budget that doesn’t. Also, since they’ll be arguing that the voters said we couldn’t raise taxes, it’s funny how the defeat of the liquor store privatization initiatives won’t stop you from pitching privatization of all sorts of things.
“I can’t help but wonder how the state’s financial situation could have been better if we had seen a budget proposal like this from the governor two years ago, after she finally acknowledged the state was in financial trouble. The Legislature could do worse by taxpayers than to adopt a budget that is the same general size and shape as this one. It won’t bring about the ‘reset’ of state government that is overdue, but the governor’s budget looks like a step in the right direction.”
Yes, if only we’d cut spending earlier. Imagine if we’d managed to dismantle Basic Health 2 years ago how much stronger the economy could be! I can’t help wonder how many parks we could have closed. I can’t help wonder how many teachers we could have fired. Just think of how high tuition could be.