April 03, 2009
Washington Monument Syndrome
Why perform CPR when band-aids are at hand?
You would think that this year's extreme circumstances would force our Washington Legislature to stop pushing problems toward our own goal and start playing defense. You would think, but you would be wrong.
The proposed budgets continue to use gimmicks, but the gimmicks are much larger of course, since the situation is much worse. Let's move money around and find one-time sources of funding, so spending can continue to climb - out of control.
Let's cut essential services that everyone depends on so they will accept tax increases. Cut our State Parks everyone uses while paying people to attend meetings of the dozens of state commissions. This is so common that there is a name for it: Washington Monument Syndrome.
The proposed 2009-11 budget is a combination of all these bad ideas and more. It is littered with minus signs on large numbers. That's good, isn't it? No. It takes the money away this year, but leaves the program in place. Next year it will need to be funded plus all the lobbyists for that group will insist the Legislature go back and fund what was cut this year. They won't even wait for the next two-year budget; they will be there January 2, 2010.
For example: We were told if we funded teacher pay COLA with Initiative 732 it would come out of the surplus; we would never have to cut anything else to pay for it. It loses its funding this year, but remains law. $358.5 million - page 172. By the way: losing this COLA doesn't mean teachers don't get pay raises; they are elsewhere also. Do you get one this year?
Much of the funding for highway repairs we have reluctantly paid higher taxes for - gone. Gone to pay for the Arts Council and a dozen more. But the projects still have to be done. Taxpayer, how are you going to pay for your highway repairs?
Finally, The "Fun Budget" is the capital budget where fun things get funded: I personally support the Washington State Museum aka Washington State Historical Society. But should it and its Eastern Washington counterpart get over $14 million in this crisis? And why provide the theater in the West Seattle neighborhood where I grew up with $140,000 = Admiral Theatre-No Theatre Left Behind. The list is long at Washington Policy Center.
Posted by Ron Hebron at April 03, 2009
09:21 AM | Email This
This is such a routine tactic the predictability of it is 100%. And not just in Washington - everywhere. Any time a municipality, or a state budget runs into trouble they immediately start bleating about cuts. What do they plan to cut? Firefighters, cops, ambulances, sanitation, etc. Stuff that worries people. (They never decide that we could do with a few fewer shrinks at DHS, or a few fewer paper-pushers at any of a dozen agencies, or dump the Art Council, or anything people might say: "yeah! Get rid of a few of those useless parasites - who care?")
It's going to be interesting. I've been down this road with Connecticut, which twenty years ago didn't have a state income tax either. Now it's being talked about openly here, and the generally idiotic way in which this state spends money does not bode well.
I'll be an interested spectator.
2. It's not just, common practice, it's Standard Procedure when, Government has overspent and desires to raise taxes, to beat up the Tax Payer with cuts to essential services. This action usually has the desired results of the Tax Payer being Suckered into accepting and even voting for higher Taxes. It is too bad that the average Tax Payer is such a Dolt! It is too bad that the average Tax Payer is a Liberal. The Dumbest class of people known to Man.
3. Thanks for the postings Ron. They sure help out.
4. If a business, say a used car lot or check cashing office, used the same deceptive tactics that our legislature uses, our legislature would be outraged and would pass laws to end those deceptive practices.
Wouldn't it be nice if the state GOP would take out some ads that point out what the state is trying to do?
We all know it's true. (Even friends of mine who are hardcore democrats have commented on the whole "lets cut where it hurts to make taxpayers pay more" posturing.
If the state GOP were to take a public stand on the subject, it would not only increase public scrutiny of the budget but might also help them align themselves with taxpayers. (Which could be helpful for the next election cycle.)
6. johnny...Only the few are honest within both parties. The vast majority of all politicians are patently and parasitically dishonest. What you suggest, would be a smart move for the GOP. However, most are there to protect their jobs via hand holding across the aisle. To give mutual cooperation in supporting each others bills. It's a big game-play of pretense of serving the public. They don't want Government to held accountable. They don't want their feet held to close to the fire. Their aim is to live high off the hog with pet projects, their salaries, kickbacks aka dealings in corruptive practices. Most politicians are Criminals and they will steal as much from the Tax Payer as they can. During peacetime....Excessive Government is the greatest Enemy we face.
Daniel@6 is correct. No one in the GOP is going to lead this charge.
Tim Eyman is probably the only hope with something like this. Even if an initiative that addressed this deceitful tactic didn't make it on the ballot, it would be brought to light in front of a public that is continually being duped.
8. Promised highway repairs ditched so we can have "The Art Council"? Oh brother. Like I said, a monkey could budget better than this.
Calling it a "budget" is to be too kind.
Barack Obama and his cronies are shoveling money as political payoffs to anyone who can check an "X" for Democrat on the ballot.
I am looking for some venture capitalists to invest in my new company..I plan to open a "Torches & Pitchforks" store...we will also sell homemade tar and hand picked goose down feathers...
ohh as a backup plan if the world stays it's course we will diversify into a "Prayer Rugs R us" chain..
11. I'm doublechecking with the theater folks here to be sure, but if you look at the fine print on the legislative budget item (first thing on Google and you have to check the cache), the Admiral Theatre this is for, is in KITSAP county - NOT the one in West Seattle. Data point from the Westside.