Tag Archives: Budget

Washington’s Negotiator-In-Chief

Washington taxpayers are lucky to have a tough negotiator like Governor Christine Gregoire looking out for their interests as the State faces an epic budget crisis. Who can forget the deal she negotiated with the Indian Casinos? That was a classic, with the Casinos making an opening offer of $140 million a year and the State hanging tough until they’d  managed to hammer that down to $0.

Now the Seattle Times is reporting that – after months of tough talk and posturing – Governor Gregoire has abruptly changed course and agreed that the State will pay 85% of health care premiums for State workers rather than the 74% she originally proposed. Currently the State covers 88% of the cost.

We know the Governor’s not very good with numbers (and who can forget her insistence during the 2008 campaign that there was no budget deficit?) I can understand that. Numbers aren’t really my thing, either but I didn’t campaign for a job where one of the requirements is presiding over multi-billion dollar budgets and negotiating tough contracts. If Gregoire can’t handle the negotiations without collapsing, she should delegate them to someone else.

For someone who projects all the warmth and softness of a harpy, it’s surprising when she crumbles…and for the taxpayers, it can be calamitous.

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Dear King County

I hear you’re having budget troubles. I know you haven’t asked for my input, but even so, I have a word of advice for you: cut this program and fire whoever is responsible for unleashing this video on an unsuspecting public.

EcoCribz? Really?

The only thing stranger than the name is that someone – anyone! – thought it was a good use of funds to make this inane video. Well, that and finding a family who was willing to participate.

H/T to Dori Monson.

 

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Don’t Underestimate The Generosity Of Your Neighbors

Last Thursday evening, I watched a special meeting of the King County Budget and Fiscal Management Committee. Nothing other than previously undiagnosed masochism could explain this bizarre behavior.

As near as I could tell, the “special meeting” consisted of representatives from program after program appearing before the Committee members to plead that funding for their program be included in the King County budget. Many of these programs are obviously worthwhile but just because a program is worthwhile, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it should be funded by the government.

Frankly I was shocked at the attitude of some of the people who rose to speak for their organizations. One woman chided the Committee members because she didn’t feel they were being attentive enough; another, a program participant, said, “Don’t take my money” (emphasis added). I thought both were startling examples of people who feel entitled to other people’s money. They come with hat in hand and, incredibly, bring an attitude along with them!

Not being entirely familiar with all the organizations that were requesting funds, I can’t say whether or not they engage in fundraising activities. I’m guessing most do but based on the sorry tales from each speaker about how their program just could not function without tax dollars, I’m guessing it’s not a major source of income. Apparently, it’s easier just to request County funding and force your fellow citizens to support your work rather than to make your case with them on a more personal level.

Might it be difficult to raise enough money to fund a program solely through fundraising efforts? Possibly, but difficult doesn’t mean impossible. The people running these programs who feel that public funds are their only option are selling their neighbors short. Americans are generous, even in hard times. Don’t underestimate them.

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