Monday, March 15, 2010

Rising spending and tax increases

Our Washington Legislature cut spending to the bone, but was reluctantly forced to raise taxes. Right? FOOLED YOU. State workers are sacrificing during this downturn in the economy. Right? WRONG We have all heard that our Senate and House have cut spending to the bone; can't cut another penny. But they didn't cut; they increased spending. Increased it! Since they increased spending they are forced, painfully forced to increase taxes. And you are supposed to fall for this line. Spending Evergreen Freedom Foundation digs deeply into the details. (pdf) They found that the Senate's proposed budget would raise spending $2.95 billion; the House only $2.7 billion. They are using a bunch of gimmicks: one fund "borrowing" from another fund when it must be paid back; changing actuarial recommendations for short-term gain; using one-time federal stimulus funds for ongoing programs. Using one-time funding for ongoing programs is short sighted. Salaries - Salaries for your state civil servants are $4,302 higher than private sector employees. Collective bargaining caused an increase of 25.4% from 2005 to 2009. Cut pay? Unthinkable. Source: - Sen. Joe Zarelli (pdf) Benefits - increased by 50.5% from 2005 to 2009. The state employee benefit fund is facing a $220 million deficit. Even Democrat State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreider says that if this fund were a private company he would throw the book at its management. But of course he takes a lot of weasel words to say that. State employees pay 12 per cent of their health care premiums. Even other states require more from the employees - four times more according to Washington Roundtable. Pensions - It's so easy to promise more and put off paying the bill. After all, some of these employees won't retire for ten, 20, 30 years. So we can fund their pension next year. That's what they have been doing according to Wasahington State Actuary Mike Smith. He recommends tripling (that's 3 times) state contributions for the next 12 years. Christine Gregoire wants you the tax payer to pay more to sustain these generous benefits, not her supporters, the state employees. State debt - In addition to all the gimmicks and delays the state has doubled its debt since 2003. Moody's downgraded Washington's bond rating to "Negative" on 12/31/2009. That will cost you the taxpayer. You You, taxpayer, have been the problem. Olympia has to continue increasing spending, but you haven't paid enough. So your elected representatives are extending their stay in Olympia (at your expense) to increase your taxes. But tax increases will slow our economy! They have heard that before. But funding more pay and benefits for state employees comes first. Angie Vogt at Red State covers this.

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