71 percent

71 percent… that’s the proportion of the general fund devoted to the criminal justice system in the 2006 King County budget proposed yesterday by Executive Ron Sims. And that’s a percentage pretty typical for counties throughout the state.

You hear a lot of jabber from the anti-tax folk about all the things government spends its money on that it shouldn’t spend its money on, but when it comes right down to it, local governments spend the vast majority of their money on the essential public services and infrastructure that the vast majority of citizens want. Another 15 percent of the general fund is spent on general government operations — a fairly typical overhead for a business or a government — and that leaves very little left over for the “liberal nanny state” stuff that the right likes to whine about.

Which of course is why, in the middle of a tight election, the Republicans could muster little criticism of Sims’ proposed budget, for if they controlled the Executive’s office, they wouldn’t know what to cut.

How ironic, that the GOP, which still claims to be the party of fiscal responsibility, is driving the federal government into historic deficits, while the much maligned liberal Democrats controlling Seattle and King County have managed their budgets so well as to receive the highest bond ratings available. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why traditionally pro-business areas like Bellevue and Mercer Island are trending Democratic?

Comments

  1. 1

    Felix Fermin spews:

    Ironic, indeed. Democrats are responsible for the only balanced federal budget in the past 40 years, and still the myth persists that Republicans are better money managers.

    Democrats:
    Better at keeping us safe.
    Better at managing money.
    Better at creating opportunity for all Americans.

    Republicans:
    All flash and no substance.
    All hat and no cattle.

    It’s just the truth.

  2. 2

    yearight spews:

    Felix Fermin-1 ‘Democrats are responsible for the only balanced federal budget in the past 40 years.’

    Are you kidding? Clinton was dragged kicking and screaming into the balanced budget. Is there no memory of the “progressive” reluctance? First Clinton said it could not be done in less than 11 years. Then 9, then 7, and then….

  3. 5

    windie spews:

    How the Reps can keep getting away with claiming to be the ‘fiscally responsible’ party is beyond me. As it is…

    Dems: Tax and Spend

    Reps: Don’t tax, and Spend more~

  4. 6

    prr spews:

    Wow,

    with that kind of fiscal responsibility, you’d wonder why it takes the police 45-minutes to an hour to respond to calls in the city, or why homlessness is such a porblem, why rampant drug use is just ignored throughout the city, why murder convictions are overturned on technicalities or why our elections porcess is so flawed?

    Give me a break Goldy, Horsesass has become a paid advertisement for keeping this corrupt government in place.

  5. 7

    Thomas Trainwinder spews:

    Windie @ 5 —

    Almost right:

    Dems: Tax and Spend.
    Reps: Borrow and Spend.

    Always has been; always will. “Smaller government” is for campaign purposes only.

  6. 8

    Swift Boat Vets For Universal Healthcare spews:

    @ 6

    I hate to quibble, but some of what yer harping on is a City (of Seattle?) issue.

  7. 10

    Curious George spews:

    prr –

    “…you’d wonder why it takes the police 45-minutes to an hour to respond to calls in the city,,,”

    Swift boat is correct. County cops, generally, don’t respond to city calls – unless the city has contracted with the county for police services.

    The context of the original post is that of the county general fund budget.

  8. 11

    Puddybud spews:

    Goldy, another laughable post by you. Why not say the real reason that 71% of the KC Budget is used for crime is that most of the criminals are people who think like you!

  9. 12

    Larry the Urbanite spews:

    Hey prr,

    Let’s dissect this:

    1) “you’d wonder why it takes the police 45-minutes to an hour to respond to calls in the city” Annecdotal. Do you have stats to prove this? And, even if it is true, what is your solution? Spend more money to hire more officers? Or make cops more efficient? This is a perennial problem, country wide and not a Republican/Democrat issue. Good luck with that one.

    2) “or why homlessness is such a porblem”: Homelessness is a problem because the budget has been cut! And where are all those “compassionate” Republicans stepping in with faith based charity services for the homeless? You can’t not have your cake and not eat it too, lol

    3)”why rampant drug use is just ignored throughout the city”: Asked and answered in 1 and 2 above. Also, serious drug use is ignored becuz cops are too busy busting marijuana smoking hippies. Look it up. Since Bush came into office serious drug arrests have dropped, while marijuana arrests are way up. Personally, I’m a lot more afraid of a crack adict than I am a hippie.

    4)”why murder convictions are overturned on technicalities”: American legal system, nothing to do with local politics

    5)”or why our elections porcess is so flawed”: White House, Congress and Senate are all Reopublican controlled and there has been very little hue and cry for election reform in DC. I wonder why? Could it be that a flawed election system works in the Republicans favor? If not, wouldn’t they be making a BIG stink to get it fixed?

    So, the substance of your comment is….nothing.

  10. 13

    Felix Fermin spews:

    yearight @ 2

    No, not kidding. The budget was balanced due to the courageous vote in 1993 that was passed by one vote in the Senate: Al Gore’s. Not one Republican voted for it. Yes, the GOP used that crucial vote against the D’s, lying about the impact of higher taxes on the rich, to great effect.

    But, they didn’t repeal the taxes when they came to power. And, the budget was balanced as a result.

    Not one Republican vote.

    If you want to live like a Republican, you’d better vote for the Democrats.

  11. 14

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    by Goldy, 10/18/2005, 8:38 AM

    “71 percent… that’s the proportion of the general fund devoted to the criminal justice system in the 2006 King County budget proposed yesterday by Executive Ron Sims. ”

    Just to reiterate, that’s 71% of the General Fund budget.

    If you consider then entire $3.357.6 million dollar proposed budget, the $510 million ear marked for Law, Safety, and Justice is 15%. Doesn’t make the budget sound so out of proportion when you consider the expenditure as a part of the whole instead of a sub item of the buget.

    Why didn’t you choose transportation as your example? That’s 69% of the Enterprise Fund. Perhaps you didn’t want people to see the budget proposed by Sims increases transportaion spending 32.4% to cover increased rider subsidies due to higher fuel costs. I guess there is such a thing as a free ride.

  12. 16

    yearight spews:

    Felix Fermin-13 ‘But, they didn’t repeal the taxes when they came to power. And, the budget was balanced as a result.’

    Selective memory? Remember welfare reform? How about the years of screams from the dems about taking food from the mouths of the poor and school kids?

    The only good thing about the tax increase is that it helped sweep the repubs into the House and Senate. If not for that the dems would not have cut anything except anti-terrorism funding.

  13. 17

    Frank spews:

    All politicians love to spend money. On the federal level, the only way to achieve a balanced budget is to have the Congress strongly controlled by one party (by “strongly”, I mean both the Senate and the House and with clear majorities) and the Presidency in the hands of the other party. The Congress will still want to spend outrageous amounts of money, and so will the President, but they won’t be able to agree on what to spend it all on – voila, balanced budget!

    – Frank

  14. 18

    Jenny spews:

    Even Sims’ radio ad admits we need an exec with real business experience. Irons has that – Sims doesn’t. And you want to talk about spin? Sims’ radio ad says Irons claims to have run two business, but then adds that one went bankrupt. Untrue. Irons started two successful companies, one of which he still owns. At one point he worked for…note “worked for”, didn’t start, wasn’t a board member, wasn’t a corporate officer….a dot-com that went bankrupty, A YEAR AND A HALF AFTER HE LEFT. That kind of “spin” is really just deception by another name. I’m disappointed in Sims and truly thought better of him. Talk issues and disagree, talk future plans and disagree, but don’t make up stuff about the other candidate. I’m a D for Irons and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. We’ll do better with Irons than another 4 yrs of Sims.

  15. 19

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Larry @ 12

    “or why our elections porcess is so flawed”: White House, Congress and Senate are all Reopublican controlled and there has been very little hue and cry for election reform in DC. I wonder why? Could it be that a flawed election system works in the Republicans favor? If not, wouldn’t they be making a BIG stink to get it fixed? ”

    The federal government doesn’t run elections, the states do. So shouldn’t your criticism be pointed at the Washington State Legislature, which has been controlled by the Democrats for decades, with the exception of a Republican majorities in the Senate and House for short periods. The last 20 years this state has had a Democratic governor, with line item veto power. I’m not sure how this points to a flawed election system being in the Republican’s favor.

  16. 20

    Mark spews:

    these wingnuts can’t deal with the fact that king county is very well-managed. when confronted with the facts, they flip out. but you can only argue with a AAA rating from S&P if you are completely unhinged.

  17. 21

    Aexia spews:

    The budget was well on its way to being balanced thanks to Clinton and the Democratic Congress’ 1993 and 1994 budgets.Check the facts. The deficit dropped about $100 billion each year. The GOP Congress merely continued the work of Clinton and Congressional Democrats. Of course, at the time, they screamed Clinton’s budget would lead us into a recession but with its success, they’re all too willing to take credit.

    Also, don’t forget the Federal government SHRANK under Clinton by hundreds of thousands of jobs. Want to guess which direction it’s gone under Bush?

  18. 22

    prr spews:

    Larry @ 12

    1. “you have the stats to prove this? yes, pick up your phone the next time you see a crime and see how quickly you get a response.

    2. “Homelssness is a problem becuase the budget has been cut” What budget? Homlessness in Seattle has been a problem since day one. The first recorded crime in Seattle was a vagrant and we still have not a way to fix this problem, so cut the BS.

    3. Who said anything about marijuanna use, walk down broadway and try and score some heroine, it’s not hard. if your too stupid to know where to look, i would recommned in front of the Post office at Broadway and Denny.

    4. Tell that to the parents of the kid who got killed in hate crime in Pioneer square during Mardis Gras a couple years back. The answer is quite plain, because of the pussy, liberal judges, we are focused on realesing prisoners as opposed to convicting criminals

    5. Really, so Ron simms appints his own panel to investigate the 2004 election problems, one of the items they recommend is to remove/replace Dean Logan to restore voter confidence. How does Simms respond? he tries to get the county to fund a new building for Logan?

  19. 23

    Aexia spews:

    The federal government doesn’t run elections, the states do.

    The Help America Vote Act would seem to indicate they can dictate certain things.

  20. 25

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Aexia @ 22

    “The Help America Vote Act would seem to indicate they can dictate certain things.”

    The federal government doesn’t count the votes. This would make it extremely difficult for them to rig elections in favor of the Republicans, which is what Larry (in post 12) seems to be implying.

  21. 26

    Felix Fermin spews:

    Balanced budget – check
    Good management – check
    right priorities on the environment – check

    Sims has easily earned re-election.

  22. 28

    JCH spews:

    71%? This should be the new combined FED and WASH state tax rate so that the evil private sector just………………quits. Atlas has Shrugged, Windie. Let the ants move away from the grasshopper parasite Democrats.

  23. 29

    JCH spews:

    Put the criminal Democrat felons in tents and on chain gangs 24/7. That would cut the budget by two thirds.

  24. 30

    commander ogg spews:

    yearight @ 1

    No! No bullsh-t about Clinton and Fiscal responsibility. No rightwing lies. No! I do not want to hear it.
    Clinton passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 , a budget that included tax increases for the 1/100th. No other bracket got hit in the budget of ’93. It was opposed by every Republican , and only passed because we were in control. Every RETHUG said it would wreck the economy, every Rethug hoped it would bankrupt the Government, and every Rethug was WRONG!

    The Largest budget deficit in American history converted to the largest surplus of over $200 billion. There is no way you tax cut and spend Republicans can spin that. And if you fall back on that tired old line, “It was the Republican Congress that cut the budget and reduced the deficit”, well maybe somebody needs to clue you in that:
    1. Clinton is no longer President.
    2. The Republicans have been in charge for 5 years (along with the Texan).
    3. Predictably the deficit is once again being launched into the stratosphere.

  25. 31

    spews:

    Boy!

    Look at all the wingers with their knickers in a knot…and we haven’t even heard from herroyalassness and janet – the drunken old bat contingent.

    I personally can’t wait ’till Dick the Dick is forced to resign and chimpy’s on the hot seat by himself (all he’ll have left to shill for him will be Larry diRita…goood fucking luck, Georgie). As the fish rots from the head the local repubs will crawl back into the woodwork for another oh…5-6 years.

    Hopefully we can clean up most of the mess we’ve been left with nationally by then.

    And again…THANKS MUCH to the State Republican party for fielding candidates SO repugnant to the electorate that we don’t have to deal with problems republicans have created in states like, oh…OHIO…or KENTUCKY…or MARYLAND! OK, OK I’ll stop now.

  26. 32

    headless lucy spews:

    It’s not over ’til it’s over. We’ve got to keep the pressure on ’til we’ve driven these sick rats into the sea.

  27. 33

    Larry the Urbanite spews:

    Prr @21

    1) What you are suggesting is a survey with a population of 1. I want to see you produce a report with statistics to back up your claim

    2) The continual erosion of the social safety net is an unstated plank in the rep. party platform. Again, I say, where are the faith based charitable organizations that the feds expect to step in and help? Too busy holding bake sales for new turf at the golf course in Bellevue probably.

    3) Annectdotal. Look up the stats on drug arrests since Bush came to office. Really, you don’t know your ass from a….wait one, how do YOU know where to score heroin?

    4) Annectdotal. Also, maybe if we had good schools (to educate kids and keep them out of jail in the first place) and some sort of real job training in jail (to keep them from reoffending) and a society that didn’t deify might being right (like the war in Iraq) maybe violent crime wouldn’t be such a problem. What judges do is treat a symptom, not a cause. Also, if you don’t like it work to change the laws so more people can be convicted. But be prepared to pay for more prisons and for incarcerating people for longer times and for putting them back in again when they re-offend. See the cycle? Why not just spend the money up front via education and avoid the hassle?

    5) Don’t know enough about the Sims/Logan thing to comment itelligently, but the Help America Vote Act was supposed to infuse millions (don’t have the figures handy)into the state coffers for reforming election processes. Since the Texan state legislature is gerrymandering districts to ensure permanent Republican control there, I figure the little contretemp (if true) we have here is tit for tat. Write your federal elections officials about it, whiner.

    And besides, nothing is going to spoil my mood today. Fitz will probably indict somebody tomorrow. It’s like the night before Christmas, wheeeeee!

  28. 34

    yearight spews:

    headless lucy-28 ‘We’ve got to keep the pressure on ’til we’ve driven these sick rats into the sea.’

    I am not getting in the water until you get out.

  29. 35

    AmazedByRightWingHate spews:

    71 percent… that’s the proportion of the general fund devoted to the criminal justice system in the 2006 King County budget proposed yesterday by Executive Ron Sims.

    And how funny is it that the right wing Corrections Officers and Police Guild unions are always the first to complain about “government waste.” Along with b!tching about “tax to the max Sims” and teaming up with Tim Eyman, these guys have perfected the art of squeezing every last dollar (for overtime and non-violent revolving door criminals) out of our wallets.

    Similar to the math that shows the Blue States subsidize the Red States (when one compares taxes collected to federal spending) I think there is a lot of self-hatred going on in the ranks of the right. In effect, they always find a boogeyman to blame to excuse their own situation in life; hence, the endless victimization complex found daily at Sound Politics.

  30. 37

    Jenny spews:

    That says it all, Mark. If this County is doing so great why do we have a permanent tent city, when Portland has virtually no homeless? Where is our computer system? What happened to convidence in the election dept.? I still think Kerry carried Ohio in the presidential election and Florida was an unmitigated joke of voter fraud – but that doesn’t excuse Sims and Logan. Irons is a specific candidate, not a party. Are you an independent or a knee-jerk D? Vote for the candidate – after finding out what HE says about his goals. Then vote rationally rather than as a drone.

  31. 38

    AmazedByRightWingHate spews:

    -I’m a D for Irons and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. We’ll do better with Irons than another 4 yrs of Sims. –

    Yeah, Jenny, and I’m an R for Sims, a Green for Buchanan and a Libertarian for Dean.

  32. 39

    AmazedByRightWingHate spews:

    -If this County is doing so great why do we have a permanent tent city, when Portland has virtually no homeless?-

    And in case you didn’t know, Jenny the Pretend Democrat, the tent city project is a purposeful way to illustrate that homelessness still exists in society. They are trying to get clueless suburbanites to feel a little uncomfortable in their insular, navel-gazing lives every once in a while. Kinda pathetic you didn’t know it was by design. Unless, of course, you were a Republican – then your ignorance makes perfect sense.

  33. 40

    Felix Fermin spews:

    Jenny, I know Irons is funded by the folks who want to add 15 lanes to 405 and overturn environmental protections … OK, I looked him over and I don’t like what I see. I like what I know about Sims’ priorities – I think I’ll stick with a AAA bond rating, balanced budgets, and a guy who shares my concern for the environment and my fellow man.

  34. 41

    Bax spews:

    If you consider then entire $3.357.6 million dollar proposed budget, the $510 million ear marked for Law, Safety, and Justice is 15%. Doesn’t make the budget sound so out of proportion when you consider the expenditure as a part of the whole instead of a sub item of the buget.

    A huge percentage of the overall county budget is spent on things that can’t be shifted around. For example, King County is unlike any other county in the state in that Metro, the transit and sewer agency, is combined with county government. Metro’s transit operations are specifically funded by taxes that voters approved to spend on transit that can’t be shifted anywhere else. Sewer operations are funded by money that can’t be shifted anywhere else. These costs are part of the overall budget — and they can’t be shifted.

    So yes, the law enforcement budget is smaller as a proportion of overall spending — but that’s once again a simple answer to a complex question.

  35. 42

    Bax spews:

    why murder convictions are overturned on technicalities

    I know why murder convictions are overturned on technicalities — because conservative pro-criminal judges like Richard Sanders make it happen. He’s far and away the most pro-criminal anti-prosecution judge on the State Supreme court. But the GOP loves him because he speaks at anti-abortion rallies, and I have no doubt you voted for him.

    I didn’t. But that’s because it bothers me that conservatives like Sanders overturn murder convictions and death penalty sentences.

  36. 43

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    rujax @ 27

    “And again…THANKS MUCH to the State Republican party for fielding candidates SO repugnant to the electorate that we don’t have to deal with problems republicans have created in states like, oh…OHIO…or KENTUCKY…or MARYLAND! OK, OK I’ll stop now.”

    All those states went for Bush in 2004. What’s your point? Are you talking about the governors of those states? I’m sure Bob Taft will not be running as the Republican candidate in 2006, considering he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges for not reporting gifts from lobbyists. Fletcher in Kentucky has about the same approval ratings Gregoire, I’d say she’s a pretty repugnant candidate to a lot of Washington voters. Not sure what you are talking about in Maryland.

    Speaking of Maryland, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who’s running for Sarbanes vacant Senate seat, must be really repugnant to the Dems, since the DSCC illegally pulled his credit report. Have you called Sen. Schumer’s office and asked him to apologize yet?

    Bax @ 36

    “So yes, the law enforcement budget is smaller as a proportion of overall spending – but that’s once again a simple answer to a complex question.”

    I was merely contrasting Goldy’s sensationalism with reality. Goldy rarely seems to respond when his hyperbole is unmasked.

  37. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Numbnuts @ 2

    I’ll bet if Shrub got caught dallying in a whorehouse, you would blame it on Clinton.

  38. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Reply to 9

    “Is there any part of king county that actually matters beyond seattle?”

    Not really. Try living in one of the suburbs, and you’ll see.

  39. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    prr @21(1)

    prr, here’s some advice for ya. Next time you want a fast police response, tell the 9-1-1 operator you have a gun and hope you won’t have to use it.

    The police will come very quickly. Trust me on this. It works.

  40. 47

    Mark D spews:

    Goldy..read about the resons this country was founded…it is the local government that is supposed to be spending money on this stuff…it’s the Federal government that is spending money on stuff it was never set up to fund.

  41. 48

    Mark D spews:

    Oh…Felix…You have to be joking with post number 1. It was a Republican congress that is responsible for that budget…Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten that ideal over the past few years. I’m no partisan, we are spending way too much now..but don’t lie to everyone like you did.

  42. 49

    Mark spews:

    Portland has virtually no homeless? Where do people come up with these “facts”? There are about 1600 people sleeping on the streets on any given night in Portland. (Or were you talking about Portland, Maine?)

  43. 50

    Felix Fermin spews:

    mark @ 42

    No lie … go look up the 1993 vote. Just the facts.

    The history of the past 40 years of federal budgets and the performance of the economy is that when Democrats are in charge, fiscal responsibility rules and the economy grows … more jobs, less poverty, more productivity …

    and when Republicans are in charge, exactly the opposite.

    Just the facts.

  44. 51

    Mr. X spews:

    Call me cynical, but I’m perfectly capable of being pissed at Sims for abandoning traditional Democrats and realizing that voting for a Green candidate in a close election helps elect the Republican.

    Vote your desires/wishes if you must (wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first), but if Irons gets elected and guts the Critical Areas Ordinance and the Growth Management Act, cuts transit hours in Seattle, and does who knows what other stupid right wing crap, don’t come crying to the Dems.

    I’m holding my nose (over SW Airlines, Stadia, and general corporate friendliness) and voting for Sims. And you know what, it’s not a hard decision at all.

  45. 52

    Dave Andersen spews:

    This is, I think, the issue that makes me a democrat. Republicans do not run the business of government well. They don’t have the shoes for it. They despise expertise and favor idealogy and appeal to authority over fact. Their main strength ,the discipline, also creates a penchant for groupthink that leads to mistakes over and over again.

  46. 53

    David Anfinrud spews:

    Ron Sims the man how brought you Light Rail(Not one inch laid and it was overbudget). The man personally responsible for present grid lock on transportation. Demanding 60+% of all transportation spending to be used for mass transit. As long as that goes on Think of the the golden bridge for I520. I do not here any comments about a Dig in Seattle that will force about 25% of the current traffic on I-5 Permanently. I thought we wanted to improve Roads to get good out of the Port area. I guess Seattle will no longer have a Port for goods comming in because a good size freighter hitting the New SeaWall will cause the dig to be flooded. Seawall = Tunnel. Very brilliant. If I was a terrorist it will be a great target. Causing billions more to be spent. Always at the cost of hard working people sitting in grid lock.
    The man who wants to Borrow against the gas tax so the next 30 Years of gas tax is spent in 2 or 3 years. I guess he wants the gas tax to double every 10 years to keep the roads underfunded.
    the man who says we do not not have enough money to support the parks. YEA and spend tens of millions of dollars every year on legal fees. All due to his Social engineering that sometimes violates the US Constitution. Legation for A lot of things. How much has he cost the Residence in Legal fees. Oh well he can use the tax money to sue people out of their homes. ANd then increase taxes more to pay for his social programs that dont fix the situation.
    The man who refuses to release voting records until after the election . IF the election was an election any Bank Would be PROud of what is he Hidding?
    But he is your man. I guess he is only human and wasting taxpayer money well that is the Democrat way. Because there is not enough money to fix any problem. Because “Give me more money to throw at this problem and we will fix it in 5 years.” 5 years later it is “Give me more money and I will really fix it in 5 years.” Could it be that this is the reason he Says “Dont look at my past record just look at what I say I will do in the future.” Remember the past he is a politician and his stripes have not changed. He will continue doing what he has done in the past. Because he is a Democrat His word is worth What?????
    Look at the Governor’s promises. See She is a Democrat also. Promises mean nothing it is actions. Because actions speak louder than words. One good budget out of how many years. Why is it balance not because of spending cuts. But maybe because of tax cuts on the Federal Level that allows business to prosper more. I have not seen any serious attempts to cut spending except on PARKS, Emergency Services and Police. That is what his past budgets did. His future bugets will be the same because he has not changed except to look good for an election he could lose.
    He showed his leadership in the election of 2004. Still blocking getting information. Oh Yea just like Clinton would Say it is a right wing conspiracy. Lets elect instead of Appoint the Head Elections guy. Then we may get some integrity. Me I normally voted Republican. Yet I vote for a good Democratic State Auditor because he was trying to do a good job. HE wants to bring accountability to spending. I will support people like that But I can not support someone that says one thing as a promise and then after the election its business as normal. Right now I would like to do a clean sweep of most of KC officials The problems we have seen in the elections office must be throughout all the County agencies. They all have the same boss so IF you have one failed agency like elections I wonder what could be found if you start looking at other agencies within the county. I just wonder. If you see problems in one agency it can be found in most agencies run by the same MAN your Man Ron Sims. Go Ron Go.