Want to bet on it?

July 24th, 2008 by Ken

Governor Christine (call me Chris) Gregoire has said that “raising taxes is the last resort.”

Want to bet?

Two years ago, Washington State was sitting on a $2 billion dollar surplus.  Next year it looks like we will be facing a $3 billion dollar deficit.  How did we go from a major surplus to a major defict in just two short years.

There’s two simple answers.  First, the state’s economy has been slowing down.  But you wouldn’t know it from watching Gregorie’s television ads.  She touts the state’s great economy, talks about adding new jobs and proudly boasts that Washington state was declared one of the best places to do business.

The second reason is the main reason.  The democratically controlled legislature has been spending money like – – well – like drunken liberal democrats.   Everyone that wanted something, got something, although you had to be on the Democrat’s list.  Foremost among those that got something were state workers which came away with good pay increases and great health benefits. 

During Gregorie’s term in office, we have added 6600 new state employees.  While that’s a large number it is nothing like the number of state employees added during Governor Gary Locke’s reign when nearly 10,000 new state workers were added to the payroll.

New programs, new employees and great benefits have contributed to the deficit. 

Governor Gregoire started out wanting a “Rainy Day Fund” of nearly a billion dollars.  But after she got done saying OK to the numerous requests from her supporters, the “Rainy Day Fund” has just around $500 million.  Remember, the deficit next year is expected to be close to $3 billion dollars.

Where is the legislature and the governor going to get the remaining $2.5 billion?  I don’t think they’ll cut state workers or state benefits.  Currently the Governor’s office and state employee unions are in bargaining sessions.  They have agreed that state employees will only have to pick up 12 percent of their health care costs, with the state taxpayers picking up 88 percent.

With many local unions already getting in the neighborhood of a 6 percent pay increase, you can bet that state worker unions will be asking for similar increases next year.  And, to make the case, they continue to say that they are 25 percent behind the pay of their peers in the private sector.  (I wonder how many private sector employees only pay 12 percent of their health care benefits?)

So, without being able to cut state workers, state pay, or state benefits, that only leaves one area where the budget can be balanced.  That’s on the backs of the taxpayers.

Governor Gregoire has said that raising taxes is the last resort. 

Want to bet on it? 

Posted in The Real News

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