I don’t want to make excuses for Gov. Christine Gregoire; she fought for our state’s top job, so the buck surely stops at her desk. But she certainly doesn’t seem too happy about balancing the budget primarily on the backs of the poor, the sick and the young:
“I hate my budget,” she said, tearing up. “I hate it because in some places, I don’t even think it’s moral.”
Can’t argue with that. But the Republicans…?
Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield, the Republican’s chief budget expert in the Senate, called the budget a step in the right direction…
What Gov. Gregoire calls immoral, Sen. Zarelli calls a step in the right direction… you couldn’t ask for starker ideological contrast. And you also couldn’t ask for a better opportunity for Republicans to ultimately prove that they are not the heartless, Social Darwinist bastards that I think they are.
I mean, it sure does appear that, unlike Gov. Gregoire, Sen. Zarelli really does want to cut a couple billion dollars from education, and 100,000 people or so from the health care rolls… that he believes it’s a step in the right direction to impose a couple more years of double-digit tuition inflation, and to zero out funding for state parks. In fact it sounds like he would have preferred the governor gone even further.
But if he doesn’t, well, there is something he can do about it. It wouldn’t be easy, but with enough support from Zarelli and his fellow Republicans, the legislature could pass a bipartisan revenue package intended to soften the harshest blows, and the governor would sign it. Unconstitutional as I-1053 may be, its supermajority requirement does put control of revenue proposals in the hands of the Republican minority, so let’s be absolutely clear: regardless of who is its putative author, this immoral all-cuts/no-new-revenue budget is a Republican budget.
This is the kind of budgeting philosophy that they campaign on, and thanks to Republican-backed I-1053, this is the kind of budget that we’ll get. 35 kids in a kindergarten classroom? That’s a Republican kindergarten. Tens of thousands of children with no health insurance? That’s Republican health care. College tuition rising out of reach of the middle class? That’s a Republican university system.
Or if it’s not, Republicans know exactly what to do to prove me wrong.