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Eli and I have companion pieces in the news section of this week's Stranger, mine on how the real cause of our ongoing state budget crisis is a structural revenue deficit, and his on how closing tax loopholes could be an important part of the solution.

Coincidentally, the Seattle Times op/ed page also has companion pieces today on the exact same subject... and as you might expect, they have a different opposite wrong take on the issue. A borrowed editorial from the Spokesman-Review argues that the "Washington Legislature must reduce size of government footprint," ignoring the fact that state government as a percentage of our economy is already 30 percent smaller than it was a decade and a half ago. Meanwhile the Seattle Times editorial board takes it upon itself to argue that Eli's proposal to close unproductive tax loopholes is some sort of "leftward fantasy."

Both The Stranger and the Seattle Times agree that Washington state must learn to live within its means. The difference is how we define "means."

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The Blethen gang would argue that our state's means be determined by an antiquated, 75-year-old, sales-tax-based kludge of a tax system that grows revenues slower than the economy as a whole, thus assuring that government cannot possibly keep pace with growth in demand for its services. We, on the other hand, believe that Washington's means are determined by, you know, its ability to afford stuff.

We are a wealthy state. But you wouldn't know it from reading the bitter old misers at the the Seattle Times.