We live in a state where the governor called a special session to restore Tim Eyman’s 1% cap on property taxes, a cap that mindlessly and relentlessly hamstrings local government, no matter the local circumstances. You see, it’s all about local control, except when it’s not.
But college students, most of whom presumably have yet to embark on careers that will make it possible to afford stuff, well, here’s how the governor treats them:
The measure removes the current 7 percent cap on annual tuition increases for Washington state resident undergraduates. The state budget, scheduled to be signed by Gregoire on Tuesday, puts the new tuition cap at 14 percent for each of the next two years.
No special session for you, kids.
Tough choices yadda yadda yadda. Not only was nothing meaningful done about the plethora of special interest tax breaks in this state, they added a 40% tax break for newspapers, apparently so many of them can continue to advocate for the Grover Norquist position of dragging government to the bathtub and drowning it. The only allowable “moderate” position in this state is that things must be destroyed rather than even discuss an income tax or even a temporary measure for education.
Chris Gregoire made a no-taxes pledge, you see, and while it was a foolhardy thing to do, the bidness guys ‘n gals and the newspaper boards are going to make sure that not one red cent is raised to help restore education funding that plummeted due to the Bush Recession.
In the Orwellian world of conservative business lobbying, handouts to corporations are incentives and a very proper use of public resources, while public education, health care and other services that benefit the wider society can be given short shrift. And since the business point of view prevails no matter which party has a majority, or a super-majority, the regular citizen also gets short shrift and comes to have a jaded, cynical view about government not operating in their interest. Hard to imagine why initiative-touting charlatans have done so well here.
We haven’t even seen the full impact on K-12 yet. Should be interesting once parents find out in the fall what’s really happening. You haven’t seen angry until you’ve seen a parent who is expecting certain programs and teachers to be in place, basically because education is virtually the only direct service most of us get from the state government in return for our tax money, and now tuition is soaring out of sight and teachers are going to be laid off.
On the other hand, there’s absolutely no political risk in alienating parents of students. Just ask Terry Bergeson.