The budget proposals are very, very ugly:
The governor identified $4 billion in optional cuts, in which she choose $2 billion in preferred cuts. The following proposals are likely to end up in her November budget proposal:
- Eliminate the Basic Health Plan, ending subsidized health care to 35,000 low-income individuals.
- Cut off medical services to 21,000 people enrolled in the state’s Disability Lifeline and ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act) programs.
- Trim 15 percent from the support the state provides to colleges and universities.Reduce levy equalization, which helps property poor districts, by 50 percent.
- Cut the length of supervision for all offenders, based on severity of offense. Sex offenders will be supervised for 24 months, and all other offenders, for 12 months.
“This is what our choices look like even after we let go of thousands of state workers and cut money to our public schools, our colleges and universities, our prisons, and shredded our safety net for the old, sick, and poor,” Gregoire said.
This is a budget that hurts everyone, but it really hits the most vulnerable of our citizens. Crime and violence will be higher than it should be for all of us. These cuts can be quantified by increases in bankrupcies, untreated morbidity, and dead bodies. The actuaries will tell us just how many bright high school graduates have had a college degree stripped from them—with lifetime consequences and lost dreams.
But this budget does not have to be. The Governor is, undoubtedly, hoping the legislature will grow a pair and work on the revenue end of things:
Gregoire says she will now turn her attention to finding ways to offset some of the cuts with new money. That could include fees, closing tax exemptions or a general tax increase.
We are now living through an era of historically low taxes. It’s well past the time to close many of the tax exemptions that have outlived their usefulness to us, the flesh and blood people of Washington state. And its time to raise bring in more tax revenue.
Seriously…I don’t want to live in a Washington surrounded by decaying infrastructure, high crime, medical bankruptcies, or physical suffering for those who chose pain, even death, over bankruptcy. Let’s confine that Mad Max-like dystopia shit to the movies, huh?