Here is yet another reason to think about the structural budget issues that Goldy has explained at length to incredulous and/or cynical activists and elected officials this year: federal monies.
I was reminded of it by this ECB Slog post about KC exec candidate Dow Constantine’s effort to boost King County infrastructure by funding a full-time county employee to coordinate stimulus grants to win money for the county. In this climate, it is as good a plan as any, if not better.
But turning to D.C. with palms facing up is not a solution that the state can ethically count on in the long run, especially after all that Bush-era war spending.
State Sen. Minority Leader Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) makes this same point, though backwards, in an AP article today.
“This is a temporary fix,” Hewitt said of the federal stimulus money going toward the state budget. “I really don’t believe this is going to help us sustain for the next two to four years.”
It won’t, and that is the point. We need to do it our own selves, but not by slashing important services like the old skool contingent wants, but with a forward-thinking tax system.
Again, I’m not referring to current stimulus spending, which we should embrace, but rather the kind of federal grant and pork project cash that comes in to bail out states all over the union on a regular basis (putting added stress on relatively awesome states like Washington, btw).
Our national debt is spiraling out of control while governors across the country boast about balanced budgets to anyone who will listen. It isn’t because governors are inherently geniuses while presidents are stupid (even if the most frustratingly ignorant guvs are the ones who tend to seek a higher perch in D.C.). It is because state electeds can swindle voters into thinking they are fiscally responsible by sticking money into their front pockets (state budgets) while taking it from their back pockets (federal).
It’s NIMBY, baby, and it is all the more reason to make the changes necessary to create a solvent long term.
Personally, I don’t necessarily fall in line with the full-on income tax idea, but a federal grant/paltry sales tax/incomprehensible business tax/property tax/tourist tax scheme might hold some water, but it is as leaky as a pre-santorum asshole.
Like Goldy says, just think about it.
P.S. I first read, in a convincing way, about the federal/state discrepancy in an op-ed in the Times or something like that last year. Anyone able to find the link for that?