Have Dems Given in to the GOP Agenda?

If Progressives Don't Change the Narrative in Olympia, They'll Lose Forever

Have Dems Given in to the GOP Agenda?
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At an afternoon press conference on Monday, June 24, Governor Jay Inslee announced that a long-contested state budget deal was "imminent"—just hours away. But by the time The Stranger went to press Tuesday, no agreement had been reached.

If lawmakers fail to pass a two-year budget before the current one expires June 30, the state will be plunged into a government shutdown. More than 25,000 state employees have already received layoff notices, and many thousands more private contractors stand to lose their jobs.

"The 8,000 employees at our state corrections system will be reduced to 3,000, and those layoffs will include our community corrections officers," state senate minority leader (and Seattle mayoral hopeful) Ed Murray (D-43) warned via e-mail. "Sex offenders will no longer be tracked. Our state prisons will close to new offenders, sending them instead to our already overburdened county jail facilities."

More to the point of the progressive agenda: Schools won't be able to budget, Murray continued, while programs to help the hungry, assist kids in preschool, provide services to the mentally ill, and aid other vulnerable populations will run dry.

But even if this short-term crisis is averted, the long-term crisis will remain. For the awful truth about Olympia is that it has been implementing a slow-motion government shutdown for years, and by taking us to the precipice of a fiscal cliff, Republicans have ensured at least two more years of the same.

To enact a Republican agenda, all the GOP obstructionists have to do is nothing. Do nothing and our state's structural revenue deficit slowly starves universities, K-12 schools, health care, and capital investments. Do nothing and the only taxes at our disposal to address court orders and emergencies are taxes that regressively sap the poor. The GOP wins simply by keeping Olympia at loggerheads.

Even more discouragingly, state Democrats appear neither willing nor able to embrace the progressive narrative that President Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren used so effectively last year: that everybody deserves a chance to succeed, and that the wealthy who profit the most from our system must also pay a greater share to fund the public schools, clinics, and infrastructure necessary for the success of all. If state Democratic leaders want to secure a progressive, sustainable budget, that is the story they must tell—broadly, boldly, and relentlessly. They need to barnstorm the state with one aim in mind: persuading voters to tax the wealthy and invest in our state. Only then will they have a political tailwind in Olympia.

For however strong the Democratic hold on the governor's mansion, unless Democrats find the will to champion the taxation of income and wealth, voters will keep getting the Republican agenda by default. recommended


Comments (7) RSS

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Your article is seriously whining about how Republicans are controling Olympia?! You do realize that for the past 30 years Democrats have enjoyed complete single party rule or nearly single party rule of this state, depending on the year. And never in this period has a Republican occupied the governor's mansion.

The problem is not a "structural revenue deficit" but rather structural overspending. Spending increases have well outpace inflation and/or the consumer price index every year. This is not a revenue problem.
Posted by Eastsider on June 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
lauramae 2
Of course #1 is absolutely wrong. That said, state democrats are weenies. They have shown absolutely no strength of conviction for years. A political party is just a stupid letter after the name.

This impasse is just the culmination of quaking fear exhibited by the dems and outright criminal indifference by some dems and some republicans.

Framing it as a political party issue is stupid too. I see none of these losers doing one goddamned thing to stop the bull shit.
Posted by lauramae on June 26, 2013 at 7:50 PM · Report this
We have GOT to oust Rodney Turncoat-Piece-of-Shit Tom, Doug "Mr. Big Oil and Big Coal's Dicksucking and Butt-kissing Ericsen", Jason Overpreach, and his faithful dog, Vincent Buys Votes for starters.

The Transportation Package that COULD have netted Washington State $800 million in federal money along with Oregon to pay for fixing our bridges and roads got shot down by "Just Say No" Rethugs.
I hope that during the next bridge collapse that these above mentioned crooks go down with the wreckage.
Posted by auntie grizelda on July 2, 2013 at 6:24 AM · Report this
Right on Lauramae and Auntie Grizelda. Hell will freeze over before the Democrats or Republicans tax their wealthy campaign donors -- unless the grass roots force them to do so. Oregon passed its wealth tax by a popular vote. As for transit funding -- the County and city is equally responsible -- "studying" streetcars to Ballard and Sound Transit refusing to fund a head tax on big companies like Amazon and Microsoft. The money is there -- we have to go get it. Maybe we should all drive our jalopies over to Rodney Tom's neighborhood and have a big "tax the rich" party. If someone breaks down half way, what the heck. Traffic jam in Tom's neighborhood? Sounds good to me.
Posted by freetransitforall on July 2, 2013 at 8:47 AM · Report this
@lauramae "a political party is just a stupid letter after the name"

I suppose, unless the issue is reproductive rights, gay rights, the environment, immigration, gun control, etc, etc. Sure, just a letter. No real difference in priorities. Meh. Please.
Posted by tito on July 2, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
The "majority" Republican Senate has no interest in closing major tax loopholes that no longer serve the State's interests, and like their national party, they have no interest in doing anything but reducing the size of government until it gets out of the way of businesses doing whatever they please -- and dang it to heck with anyone else. Maybe the House Democratic Majority will not allow the Senate to push a neo-conservative agenda State-wide given that the economic engine for the State resides in predominately liberal/progressive highly populated counties... so, if these Senators were smart, they'd just leave well enough alone given that, per capita, their districts probably receive more than they put into the system...
Posted by Nil on July 3, 2013 at 1:47 AM · Report this
Did not Rodney "the DINO" Thom commit a crime by changing parties after he got elected by a rival one?If not,then he should be forced to do the bidding of the people who actually voted his sorry,phony ass into public office in the first place!(Has anybody bothered to try to get him ousted and replaced by a true Dem?Or are all you Dems who voted for Rodney Tom a bunch of cowards? ---- The USA's Voting Rights Act of 1965,anybody?Pfft!!!
Posted by 5th Columnist on July 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM · Report this

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