Last night leaders in the state senate unveiled their plan for balancing the $5.3 billion budget shortfall. In broad strokes, it's the same as everything we've heard before: cuts, cuts, cuts, and no new revenue.
We'll be looking at this and other Olympia budget proposals more closely in the coming days, I'm sure, but for now it's worth reminding that there were other ways to get the necessary $5.3 billion than slashing education funding and taking essential social and health services away from the neediest people in the state.
Here are two of them:
1) Stop giving away $6.5 billion in state money annually via tax loopholes that benefit Wall Street banks, cosmetic surgeons, and private jet enthusiasts. If lawmakers got serious about closing these tax loopholes, they could raise the $5.3 billion they need over the next two years in a flash.
Instead, says Anne Martens, spokesperson the Our Economic Future Coalition, this senate budget "only balances on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens, and at the expense of our future and our quality of life... As with the House budget released last week, these cuts are unsustainable."