As mentioned, Republican Rob McKenna has even less of a plan than his Democratic opponent in the race for governor, Jay Inslee.

However, McKenna has said quite a bit about government spending since launching his gubernatorial campaign, including this Aug. 9 statement:

It is simply wrong to overspend in good times, adding billions in future spending without means to pay for it, and then cutting in bad times and not living up to promises our citizens have planned on.

A nice sentiment, but let's take a look at how McKenna has talked about higher education spending in these bad, bad economic times. Remember, higher education is one of the few unprotected spending areas in this state, a spending area that budget cutters will probably return to with their knives now that we're another $1.4 billion in the hole.

McKenna, in his gubernatorial announcement speech on July 8, noted that Washington State currently spends 8 percent of its budget on higher education. "Simply unacceptable," McKenna said of that spending level.

Because it's too high? No. Because it's too low.

In these bad economic times, McKenna wants to double our spending on higher education. "We need to return the higher education share of the budget to a level more like 16 percent," McKenna said.

Again, a nice sentiment. But given the current economic situation, it's incompatible with McKenna's lecture to other politicians about "spending without means to pay for it." In fact, it is exactly what he's criticizing—proposed spending, with no means to pay for it—and worse, it's coming out of his mouth in bad economic times, not good economic times.