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?