Sunday, May 09, 2010

Gregoire signs the irresponsible 2011 budget

That is the correct term for it - irresponsible. It is unsustainable and the people who wrote it knew it. They used a bunch of tricks - "borrowing" from dedicated funds, taking capital funds, which are for long-term projects, to use for current operations. And, most heroic of all, assuming that the very broke federal budget will pay. Yeah, get the people of Oregon and Georgia to pay for our Legislature ignoring the recession we have been in. Why the insistence to do almost no cutting in employment of public employees when every business has to cut? More evidence that the Democrats serve the public-employee unions. The Seattle Times says it is "utterly unsustainable:"
The budget pays for current programs by diverting money from long-term investments like water treatment and contributions to state employee pension funds. It relies on one-time federal money and on college tuition increases too large to be repeated indefinitely. It is a budget that keeps most programs alive and most state workers employed, while taking the least possible responsibility for the long term. Budgeting this way is a failure of leadership — of the governor and of House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle; Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane; Senate Ways & Means Chair Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, and others. In the Senate majority caucus only Rodney Tom, D-Medina and vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, opposed this budget. The budget is carried on the backs of the people, who are in the same recession the state is. We had our own burdens to carry. We have had to adjust, to reset our plans. The state, for the most part, has not. Officials talked about abolishing boards and commissions, and legislators zapped a few ones you've never heard of. But they didn't have the courage even to get rid of the state liquor stores. State agencies could have rid themselves of staff people — planners, office assistants and redundant managers. For the most part, they have not. The governor could have forced the reopening of state employee contracts, so that state employees would pay more than 12 percent of their health-insurance premiums — a share more like what private employees pay. There was a way to do this. The Legislature has just saddled the private sector with a tax increase of $800 million a year. ...
Christine Gregoire had the chance to provide the tough leadership to tackle the real problems. But she chose not to, or could not. She just pushed the mess onto next year, even though it is still her problem then. And she will have to work with the Republicans next year! Update: Christine Gregoire's approval rating is 35% at Survey USA.

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