Friday, September 17, 2010

Seattle Times: State predicts another big shortfall, will cut spending 6%

House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, released a statement saying: "The fact is, the current budget situation clearly demonstrates that state government must be rescaled to fit the new fiscal reality. It will take more than just a quick special session to do that right."
State predicts another big shortfall, will cut spending 6%, Seattle Times Newspaper

Peter Callaghan of the Tacoma News Tribune asked the policy makers who are are part of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council what the government would look like in the future; either the state is an education, health, and safety agency, or does the state shave chunks out of the areas of spending?
In answering that question Hunter said, in part, "we are going to have to decide what we do that are important to that economy... what we are responsible at the state level, what we are responsible at the local level, do we need to move some things across those boundaries. I think it is going to be a wrenching process." (, 9/16/2010, 48.20 min., Economic & Revenue Forecast Council quarterly review.

Please click here to watch the video.

The state will get out of the business of providing state-wide solutions. That begs the question for the counties and municipalities be in the business of providing? Will the state pass the power and authority for the counties that have when they can no longer deliver for the have not's?

I am going to repeat this from the prior post:
"Should we get out of the business of those things that we never heard a word in four public meetings or on a website with thousands of hits?" she asked. "Should we be funding it?"

When asked for an example, Gregoire said, "As hard-hitting as this may sound to people I very much respect, we heard nothing about the arts. If you put that into print I bet I'll hear something."

State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, isn't sold on the idea of cuts to the arts. "One of the things we know is the arts is a major jobs generator," he said. "There are 8,000 related art jobs in my legislative district alone. We have to be careful, if we're going to cut programs, that we don't create the anti-stimulus budget."

The state spends about $6 million every two years on the arts. While that might not sound like much money compared with the overall state budget, "We can't afford anything right now," Gregoire said. "Every time I get a call, I get 'Well, it will only cost X.' It's every call. I get this from legislators. I tell every single one of them ... I don't have X."

Local News | State budget likely to go from bad to much worse | Seattle Times Newspaper

Ed Murray is right, our economy in THIS area depends on arts funding. It also depends on Safeco Field being able to keep its parking fee as a means to fund capital maintenance. It also depends on a great variety of arts and entertainment to attract tourists, business, and in turn increase tax revenues, that in turn increase the general fund.
These "tourist taxes" are set to start expiring next year if the state does not take any action. To keep the taxes going takes a majority vote in the state legislation. Attempting to recreate these taxes later would take a 2/3 majority vote in the state legislature. Quite frankly, if the rest of the state does not see our business directly benefitting them then they are not likely going to be interested in supporting it on a purely ideological way.