I guess I'll never learn. For when I first read the lede of today's editorial in the Seattle Times, I actually expected the unsigned author to go on to mock voters for their unrealistic expectations.
VOTERS were clear in the midterm election that funding education is a top priority in Washington state but additional taxes and heavy borrowing are not the way to do it.
But no, the Seattle Times editorial board obviously sees nothing wrong with this spend more/tax less math, and goes on to suggest that "Legislators will need a strategic plan around prioritizing and paying for education."
Thing is, public schools consume 41% of our state's $14.9 billion annual general fund, while higher education consumes another 10.9%. So if taxes are off the table, how exactly is the legislature supposed to even maintain funding for education at current levels, let alone fund the reforms passed in the previous session, all the while closing a projected $4.5 billion budget gap?
No really... I'd like to know. And since the Seattle Times editorial board has so vociferously opposed nearly every tax increase that has come our way, I think it's past time for them to share their priorities with readers.
Do we deny children health insurance, and the dying hospice care? Do we empty the prisons and/or shutter our state parks? Or, as Joni Balter seemed to imply on KUOW this morning, are bloated benefits the primary cause of our fiscal crisis?
The state has about 112,000 FTE's on which it spends about $7.1 billion annually in salaries, benefits and other related expenses. So if we were to slash all state employee compensation by say, 20%, that still wouldn't get us a third of the way toward closing the deficit. So what next? The Seattle Times has championed this money for nothing agenda, so now that voters have once again endorsed it at the polls, isn't it incumbent on its editorial board's ardent pro-schools/anti-tax advocates to explain exactly how it works?
Or, would it be foolish for the state to take fiscal advice from a money-losing, dying newspaper? I mean, if the legislature ran the state's business like Frank Blethen runs his, we would have bought Maine at a premium a decade ago, only to sell it off for pennies on the dollar after suffering steep losses.
I'm just sayin'.