When the issues that I think are important fail at the ballot box I have to wonder why am I so out of touch?
I'm ok with the failure of the income tax initiative and the second booze initiative (had there been only one, to allow private retailers to sell booze too it might have passed, but by confusing the issues - they were doomed to failure) but the repeal of the candy/water tax makes no sense to me. Are we unwilling to fund our services? Do the people who vote not see a correlation between our tax revenue and public services? Our state will end up having to make dramatic cuts in expenditures, which on the outside seems like a FABULOUS idea. Government shouldn't be bloated and a cash cow for some. However, since 70% of the state budget is "protected' the 30% that is discretionary is going to take a whopper of a hit. It's going to be ugly for "optional" services.
Reading the 10% budget cut proposals that have been submitted to the Office of Financial Management for the 2011-2013 (http://www.ofm.wa.gov/reductions/2011-13/#affected) is daunting. Some smaller groups, like the commission of elected officials that 10% represents training and printing budget. Other areas, like the Department of Social and Health Services the 10% represents the elimination of 49 positions and the closure of a ward at Western State Hospital. This could have a much larger impact on our community. The Eastern Washington Historical Society claims that this cut would kill their program entirely (a cumulative effect of previous years cuts and loss of community support.) It's a bummer that we'd lose a museum, but if executed well the artifacts and information wouldn't be lost to our community.
One thing is clear when reviewing these initial proposals (that were submitted in the August, September and October time frame) is that the primary way to cut is to eliminate staff. Efficiency and waste are not quick budget wins. Jason keeps saying an entire tax overhaul is needed in our state, but that also means a holistic look at services that we pay for should have to be fully evaluated. I don't see how it would be possible.
I heard last night on the news before sulking off to bed was a commentator talking about Dino Rossi. He basically said that it's clear that Dino could run for King of Eastern Washington and rule for years and years, but the voters in the more populated counties won't let it happen. I think that is true, but similar to how votes are split in other areas of our nation, folks in the more densely populated areas tend to trend towards Democrats. Maybe we need some sort of exchange program so we can see and understand the needs and concerns of our fellow citizens in other areas. Can we meet the needs of populated and rural areas at the same time?
Last night I read something that made me really angry. Some fella who had just won a seat in the US Congress, where the majority shifted from Democrat to Republican vowed to block all Obama's legislative attempts. REALLY!? Rather than vote on each item on its own merit and for the value and benefit it may bring to your country the plan is to stonewall and do nothing. It's that kind of "all X are bad" mentality that makes me hate our political system. (That us and them crap isn't localized to Republicans - Democrats do it too.) Maybe it's time to abolish the parties altogether and let our leaders lead based on their smarts. I guess, that's a silly idea.
I need an adult beverage... but whine is all I get to indulge in these days.