Time to outsource King County government to China?

Unfettered by the need to win votes from voters, interim King County Executive Kurt Triplett is making the tough budget cutting choices, choices that are unlikely to win him many friends outside of the local politicians who are currently using him as a human shield. Yet the toughest choice of all — what to do about the county’s chronic long term revenue deficit — well that, nobody’s allowed to even talk about, especially not during an election season.

Slashing budgets is hard, but not impossible, because unlike most tax increases, budget cuts don’t require the prior approval of voters, and there’s no automatic mechanism for vetoing them via ballot referendum. Sure, plenty of voters will be plenty pissed off by shuttering parks, eliminating animal control and raising Metro fares countywide, but there’s nothing any of us can do about any of it… at least not directly, and certainly not directly against Triplett. So with nearly three quarters of the county’s general fund dedicated to criminal justice, so-called “non-essential” services must necessarily bear the brunt of this year’s cuts.

And next year…?

The cuts would come on top of several years of cost-cutting. For 2009, the county executive had to close a $93 million general-fund deficit, and between 2002 and 2005 $137 million in deficits had to be bridged.

Without new sources of revenue, Triplett forecast general-fund deficits of $54.2 million in 2011 and $88.2 million in 2012.

“There’s nothing left to spare,” he said. “Counties have to be funded differently.”

Yeah, well, Triplett can say that, because he’s not running for office. But as for the rest of the county’s political and media elite…? Shhhhh… voters might hear you.

So if we’re not going to fix a revenue system that has been intentionally monkey-wrenched to prevent county revenues from growing as fast as even population-plus-inflation, let alone growth in demand for public services, what’s the solution?

Republican executive candidate Susan Hutchison is running on the tried and true “waste, fraud and abuse” platform, claiming she can save popular services simply by wringing greater efficiencies from bloated government bureaucracy, mostly at the expense of the evil unions. Whether she really believes this or not, I don’t know, because like most other issues, she’s not sayin’. But the point is it can’t be done, at least not to the extent necessary to keep county services anywhere near their current level.

It’s not that there aren’t inefficiencies in county government, and it’s not like our bureaucracies don’t need to be scrutinized, squeezed and reformed from time to time; that’s the nature of bureaucracies, both public and private sector. It’s just that, as I’ve pointed out before, expecting to address long term structural deficits via productivity gains is a losing and illusory proposition:

But researchers long have recognized that the services provided in the public sector, such as education, health care, and law enforcement, tend to rise in cost faster than many other goods and services in the economy in general. This analysis was first put forward by economist William Baumol, who pointed out that technology and productivity gains may make goods cheaper to produce, but the services that government provides are different. Baumol said public services typically rely heavily on well-trained professionals — teachers, police officers, doctors and nurses, and so on — and technology gains do not make these services cheaper to provide. It may take far fewer workers to build an automobile than it did 30 years ago, but it still takes one teacher to lead a classroom of children.

The problem facing county governments statewide is simple: they have been forced to rely on a tax structure that over the long run guarantees that revenue will grow at a slower pace than the economy as whole, at the same time that the cost of providing government services is virtually assured to rise faster than the cost of most other goods and services in the economy. No doubt there are some productivity gains to be had, and we should attempt to squeeze them out where they make sense, especially in these trying economic times. But relying on productivity to address our long term deficit is wishful thinking.

Since we can’t actually outsource parks, animal control, Metro buses and other services to China, that leaves budget writers with only two real options: cut services and or raise revenues, neither of which is particularly popular, but only one of which appears to be even possible given the revenue constraints placed on the counties by the Legislature, and of course, our friend Tim Eyman. Timmy and the rest of the anti-government crowd don’t really mind watching local governments slowly drowned in a bath tub… indeed, that’s their goal. But the majority of voters — you know, those of us who actually use and rely on these services (and admit it) — we’re going to be sorely disappointed if the budget debate continues to focus on spending priorities to the exclusion of tax reform.

County government simply isn’t sustainable, anywhere in the state, and no amount of focus on budget priorities is going to fix this over the long term.  At some point, voters are going to have to accept that the level of revenue they are providing simply isn’t sufficient to support the level of services they’ve come to want and expect. But we’ll never have that painful conversation until our elected officials are willing to start it.

Comments

  1. 1

    Alki Postings spews:

    Time to play hardball. Shutdown the government, we “hate it” anyway, right? Stray dogs roaming your neighborhood. You catch them. Water main sprung a leak? You find a contractor to dig up the street and fix it and pay for it yourself. Park closed? You and your neighbors stop being socialists and just pool your money and buy the $1.7 million plot, maintain it, and hold the liability insurance for when a kid gets hurt and the parents sue you for improperly maintained equipment. Pot hole in your street? Get a shovel and fix it. House on fire? Get a hose and stop bitching and waiting for “the government” to help solve your problem…be self reliant! Having a heart attack, have your family and friends drive you to the hospital (make sure they have a defibrillator and meds in their car).

    The “self reliant” fantasy was COOL and almost practical in 1776. But in a modern society where we want the conveniences of ambulances, fire departments, police, municipal water and electricity, internet service, etc…you just have to face the fact you’re NOT self reliant. The Ted Nugent “I do everything myself” fantasy is just that. A fantasy. It’s neat HE can kill a deer with a compound bow and skin it and eat it. But that bow was created in a million dollar factory, so were the arrows, and all his guns. And his meds, glasses, wiring and glass, insulation and most of his house, etc….all created with million dollar plants requiring OTHER people to invent, develop and work to create them. Enough with this “I’m an island and need no one” fantasy. We live in an extremely complicated intricately connected world. Pretending otherwise is just make believe.

    That being said. Yes eliminate waste in huge institutions (Boeing, Pentagon, Microsoft, King County gov) but stop pretending you don’t need their services, because you’re some magic self reliant being with no contact with the rest of the world. It’s not true.

  2. 2

    Michael spews:

    @1

    Exactly!

    I don’t meet many of those ‘self reliant’ types when I’m riding around on my bike which, next to walking, is the most self reliant way to get around.

  3. 4

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST!
    Keep raising taxes.
    Never deflate the bloated bureaucracy with many stupid positions that produce nothing for the citizens.
    Just keep raising taxes.
    Put about 30 tax increases on the ballot whydontcha?

  4. 5

    Alki Postings spews:

    @4 I’m with you…not arguing to raise taxes. I’m saying stop performing the government services. Let’s just shut things down. Then, one by one as folks demand some SPECIFIC service, lets discuss bringing it up, and how to pay for it. Want a library? How much will that cost…how do we pay for it (personnel, buildings, maintenance, etc). Want schools? Want fire, police, dog catchers?

    We all agree there’s basically a disconnect between what we want (police, fire, dog catchers) and how they’re paid for. It needs to be simple, above board, honest and fair. YES (@4) eliminate waste! I agree! But once you get 1,000 plus employees, it’s difficult. Just ask Boeing and Microsoft. We SHOULD try! We should…but thinking “cutting waste” will fix everything is a fantasy. It’s a good thing, but not a cure all. The funding mechanism needs to be fixed. That does NOT just mean reflexively raising taxes (too ‘simple’ and lazy of a tendency). But thinking how SHOULD these services be paid for and at what rate. There’s a real honest discussion there somewhere.

    Just as it’s a “lazy” tendency to just want to raise taxes, it’s JUST as lazy to just say “lower” them. You ask the voters…do you want a fire department, they’ll say yes. You ask them if they want their taxes that pay for it slashed 80%, they’ll say yes. We all want shit and don’t want to pay for it. Those are both lazy tendencies. Both sides need to recognize that and find real solutions.

  5. 6

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Alki–
    As long as the SEIU and other Unions have their hands on Government Services…we are screwed.
    Government employees are no longer Public Servants. They are forced to do the Unions bidding…no matter how dire the consequences for the General Public they are supposed to serve.

    Things have gotten backwards.
    Need to become a Right to Work State…especially in the Government Sector.
    ASAP

  6. 7

    ArtFart spews:

    Water mains? Are you kidding? Nobody’s going to be running the waterworks upstream, remember. No more electricity going to socialist boondoggles like running the pumps. In fact, no electricity period unless you have your own generator or about 50 kilobux worth of solar panels on your roof and storage batteries and inverters in the basement–or maybe if you’re able and willing to pay a couple thousand a day for about three hours’ service from Aussie/Puget/Enron 2.0. You’ll have to dig your own well, or learn to carry a large bucket on your head.

  7. 8

    DavidD spews:

    One of the problems with cutting waste in government is that what one person sees as waste another person sees as a need.

    For example, if the 1.5 million people that are served by King County wastewater treatment all installed composting toilets, we could save millions of dollars not treating that waste. This would make those people much more self-reliant.

    The same with drilling their own wells. And taking their own garbage and recycling to a transfer station. More self-reliance!

  8. 10

    SJ spews:

    A Third Choice .. Radical Change?

    In this one issue, the cost of county services, it seem to me there is third choice … do away with King County government altogether.

    Very little land is left in KC that is unincorporated. For the few people who live in such places, they obviously are using the services of adjacent urban areas .. schools, parks, libraries, etc. For the rest of us, our state, city and school districts are the main providers of civic services.

    Lets look at the list of service the County does provide:

    Overlap with State services:

    Sheriff’s office.
    County level courts
    Parks
    elections
    health department

    Overlap with City/Town services

    Library
    Animal Control
    Parks
    Sheriff’s office
    transit

    Already controlled by independent elected or appointed boards boards

    Community colleges (are these now under the County or the State?)
    port
    metro transit

    So, SJ asks,

    What would we LOSE if KC were replaced by some sort of regional council?

    Would doing away with the County as a government, save us money?

  9. 11

    Michael spews:

    @7

    I’d watch out where you dug that well as there wouldn’t be any sewer service either…

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think King County should outsource the euthanizing of dogs to China. At least the Chinese will make good use of dog carcasses by EATING them.

  11. 13

    spews:

    Hey let’s let Tim Eyman run King County. He has all the answers. He wants you to vote for his latest anti-tax, anti-government, budget freezing Initiative 1033 because politicians just want to take more and more of your tax dollars and they don’t know when to stop.

    I’ve heard this not just from Tim but even people in these comment threads have said it. So it must be true.

    So Tim is riding to the rescue to save us all from ourselves since we elected these people to run government and we obviously aren’t qualified to do so considering who we elected.

    Washington State being ranked 35th lowest (with 1 being the highest) in terms of state and local tax burden by the conservative Tax Foundation isn’t low enough. Tim wants us to be 50th lowest.

    We all know that free markets work best and governments only mess things up and steal our money and have lazy slobs sitting around doing nothing but chewing the fat.

    Who cares that we rank 8th highest in terms of income per capita and could afford to pay more? People don’t need all those frills of government. We’re better off if its everyone for themselves. How about a little personal responsibility here? Go Timmy. Save us from ourselves.

  12. 14

    spews:

    Two questions you sheep aren’t asking.

    1) By what percentage has King County’s population risen in the last 10 years?

    2) By what percentage has King County’s budget risen in the last 10 years?

    The fact is, in the last 10 years, King County’s population has risen by only 9%, while the County’s budget in that time has risen 355%.

  13. 15

    Rujax! spews:

    4. Mr. Cynical spews:

    THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST!
    Keep raising taxes.
    Never deflate the bloated bureaucracy with many stupid positions that produce nothing for the citizens.
    Just keep raising taxes.
    Put about 30 tax increases on the ballot whydontcha?

    09/29/2009 at 11:27 am

    6. Mr. Cynical spews:

    Alki–
    As long as the SEIU and other Unions have their hands on Government Services…we are screwed.
    Government employees are no longer Public Servants. They are forced to do the Unions bidding…no matter how dire the consequences for the General Public they are supposed to serve.

    Things have gotten backwards.
    Need to become a Right to Work State…especially in the Government Sector.
    ASAP

    09/29/2009 at 11:46 am

    This is thee problem; short sighted moronic dumb fucks like this jerk.

    Fuck you Cyniklown.

  14. 16

    Michael spews:

    @8

    Assuming that the water isn’t picking up toxic crap from roofing materials, we could switch quite a few folks to using water off their roofs that’s stored in cisterns. But, to get everyone on board we’d probably have to subsidize the cost for some home owners. But, of course subsidizes are a bad thing…

  15. 17

    Chris Stefan spews:

    @6
    That’s right, no government job should have ANY benefits and none of them should pay any higher than minimum wage. If we can’t find qualified people to work here as law enforcement officers, firefighters, prosecutors, bus drivers, nurses, etc. under those conditions we’ll just import a bunch of H1b workers from India and China.

  16. 18

    SJ spews:

    @12 Outsource Dod Killing to China … by the Rabbit

    Sorry, Roger, the ocst of transportation would be too high.

    A better answer would be put an Invisible Fence around around areas that do not have their own animal control, fit unwanted dogs with Invisible Fence collars, then . release any unwanted dogs back into the fenced areas. You know like Hunt’s Point and Medina?

  17. 19

    Sam Adams spews:

    Gov’t doesn’t PRODUCE jack!

    By produce I mean generate revenue. They TAKE it from the citizens in the form of taxes.

    The more taxes gov’t takes the less the citizens will produce the less taxes will be collected.

    Do we need gov’t svcs? YES!
    Do we need such a bloated and apparently corrupt organization to do this? Fvck NO!

    But why am I saying “we?” I don’t even live in King Co. In fact, I generally, as a rule, don’t go north of Tacoma unless I’m being paid.

    **Think there could be a reason for that?**

  18. 20

    SJ Troll patrol spews:

    @ 14. Troll

    The fact is, in the last 10 years, King County’s population has risen by only 9%, while the County’s budget in that time has risen 355%.

    Howsa about posting a link that confirms this?

  19. 21

    SJ Troll patrol spews:

    @ 19 19. Sam Adams

    Gov’t doesn’t PRODUCE jack!

    hmmm …

    lets see …

    water, irrigation, electricity, research leading to drugs, the internet, ???

    Oh yeh … the government creeates the green stuff you call money! Or would you prefer going back to the Gold standard so the REuskis can own all the gold?

    But why am I saying “we?” I don’t even live in King Co. In fact, I generally, as a rule, don’t go north of Tacoma unless I’m being laid.
    **Think there could be a reason for that?**

    emphasis added.

  20. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Republican executive candidate Susan Hutchison is running on the tried and true ‘waste, fraud and abuse’ platform, claiming she can save popular services simply by wringing greater efficiencies from bloated government bureaucracy, mostly at the expense of the evil unions.”

    Point #1: Republicans have never met a fiscal issue they couldn’t “solve” by cutting wages.

    Point #2: Republicans had 8 years to combat “waste, fraud, and abuse” at the federal level and ended up tripling the growth rate of federal spending compared to Clinton.

    At some point you’re forced to conclude Republicans are mean-spirited blowhards who are simply out to screw workers. Hutchison’s use of the “waste, fraud, and abuse” code phrase puts her squarely in that camp.

  21. 23

    Rujax! spews:

    19. Sam Adams spews:

    But why am I saying “we?” I don’t even live in King Co. In fact, I generally, as a rule, don’t go north of Tacoma unless I’m being paid.

    09/29/2009 at 12:36 pm

    Good.

    We’ll all thank you to stay the fuck out, and stay the fuck out of our business, asshole.

  22. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Back in 1776, when people were highly self-reliant, nobody survived heart attacks and the average life expectancy was about 38 years. Well, I say let the trogs live in 1776 if it’ll kill them off faster!*

    * Just kidding! Wingnut joke.

  23. 25

    um, actually spews:

    not a fan of eyman but the notion that government services should never go down in cost and could never possibly show improvements in performance or efficiency over time, and the notion this can’t be discussed, is ridiculous.

    There are news articles today saying that DOL needed to be late in renewing car tabs — driving customers insane with worry — because this year they had to implement a new $5 check off for parks.

    No, this should not cause a near meltdown. This kind of change should be handled simply and cleaning and it does not take 1000front line professionals, it takes basic computer programming like adding a $5 check off box!

  24. 26

    Alki Postings spews:

    The government produces “services”. Their revenue is taxes (as opposed to optional spending). That’s not a BAD thing. Stop pretending that’s some sort of evil. Our founding fathers set that up, and EVERY industrial nation in the known physical universe operates that way. You PAY taxes, and “get” police and fire services (and libraries, and schools, and roads, and street lights, a monetary system, etc).

    Government is required to create a modern nation. If you think not, give me ONE example where that’s not true.

    So we’re JUST talking about the size and effectiveness. Large organizations are by definition wasteful. I know a VP at Microsoft who talks about their endless layers of management and overlap. Northrop Grumman and Boeing have huge waste issues too. I’m NOT talking about ‘evil unions’ just wanting too much for salaries or benefits, I’m talking about project management and implementation concepts. The Pentagon itself is one of THE most wasteful organizations on earth, mostly because of political powers pulling it in 20 directions at once for different reasons.

    Is King County government too big? Probably. Does it overlap with State and other functions…almost certainly in some areas. So we can just argue over those specifics. What should be cut?

  25. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 “Gov’t doesn’t PRODUCE Jack!”

    Sure it does. When gov’t builds bridges, roads, schools, libraries, and parks with your taxes, it has produced those things.

    In fact, gov’t spending can save you more than it costs in taxes. The relatively small amount of taxes you pay for the county library saves you big money if you read 100 books a year, like I do, and borrow them from the library for free instead of buying them from Amazon or Powell.

    I could go on, but your statement is so plainly false that these examples should be enough.

  26. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @25 And the argument that government never improves efficiency or performance, and never reduces its costs — if that’s what you’re arguing — is equally ridiculous.

  27. 29

    Michael spews:

    In fact, I generally, as a rule, don’t go north of Tacoma unless I’m being paid.

    Well, there’s one thing we can agree on.

  28. 30

    Cascadian spews:

    Troll@14 just makes up numbers.

    The 2000 adopted budget was $2.5 billion, with $450 million in the general expense fund. The 2009 adopted budget was $4.9 billion with $627.8 in the general expense fund. The proposed 2010 budget is $4.8 billion with a $621 million general fund. That’s a 92% increase over 10 years in the total budget, and a 38% increase in the general fund.

    I had a hard time finding relevant economic data for the same period, but I did find census data from 2005-2008 for mean income in the county. It increased 12.5%. Over a ten year period (with compounding) that’s going to be damn close to 38%. It looks like decadal rises in income more or less match the growth in general county government.

  29. 31

    X'ad spews:

    19. Sam Adams spews:

    Gov’t doesn’t PRODUCE jack!

    But why am I saying “we?” I don’t even live in King Co. In fact, I generally, as a rule, don’t go north of Tacoma unless I’m being paid.

    **Think there could be a reason for that?**

    Somebody’s smart enough to keep the sewer rats from Spanaway out of civilized areas? Or you lost your collar and tags? Or there are still guards at Steilacoom?

  30. 32

    spews:

    What strikes me about all this cutting is that, somehow, the extra expenses are never put on the people most able to pay. Cutting transit does not save the citizens money: people who previously took buses will now drive, and that is much more expensive. In the long run, it doesn’t save tax money, since it demands more road capacity. And the people who are most affected are the middle-class people who use the buses. This is a wealthy city in a wealthy state. But somehow, when it comes to basic services, it’s the bottom half of the middle class that has to pony up, or tighten their belts.

    Let’s call it “Hooverism,” and remember how it ended the last time.

  31. 33

    Michael spews:

    It looks like decadal rises in income more or less match the growth in general county government.

    Which is par for the course.

  32. 35

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    SJ–@11

    Now you are thinking…consolidate services with other entities. But this means eliminating jobs, so watch the Unions scream. This means eliminating Empires of Empire Builders. All the Lefty’s will pat you on the noggin for your idea and ignore it.

    How about outsourcing everything but Public Safety. Bids every 2 years. All County Government needs is some Contract Managers.

    I have given you KLOWNS plenty of ideas.
    *Outsourcing
    *Consolidating (as SJ promotes).
    *Go back to ESSENTIAL SERVICES…infrastructure & Public Safety.
    *Gut “middle-management” and support those with their “hand on the shovel”.

    Look, folks are a little tired of Leftist Chicken Little’s who cry we are all gonna die without Big Government.
    King Kounty is RIDICULOUS.
    Have you looked at the jobs and TOTAL COMPENSATION (TC==Salary + 31% for benefits + 18% for Paid Time-off)

    So TOTAL COMPENSATION = Salary + 50%!!
    Most taxpayers would be outraged if they went inside, saw the bloated bureaucracy and looked at the TOTAL COMPENSATION of some of the KLOWNS running the CIRCUS.
    Not all County Employees are bad workers.
    The system & unions drag them down.
    The goal is work less, get paid more and hire more workers.
    Diametrically opposed to the best interest of those who pay the bills.

    PS–
    To the moron who tells us MASSIVE OBAMA DEFICIT SPENDING is propping up the Stock Market…
    Yeah…another deck of cards which will fall when the bill comes due. You KLOWNS seem to think there is a blank check for every whim you desire…you have no plan on how to pay it back. If you really cared about the future of this Country, you would insist on a viable, no smoke-and-mirrors plan to repay. Not just Obama’s HOPE we can pay it back….cuz that’s all you have.
    Wise UP and Grow UP.
    Massive Deficit Spending and evergrowing Government at all levels is UNSUSTAINABLE!
    Time to stop the insanity right now.

    You KLOWNS are insane…
    You somehow believe you can do the same thing over and over…and will somehow miraculously get a different result.

    Grow up and wise up.

  33. 36

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    26. Alki Postings spews:

    The government produces “services”. Their revenue is taxes (as opposed to optional spending). That’s not a BAD thing. Stop pretending that’s some sort of evil. Our founding fathers set that up, and EVERY industrial nation in the known physical universe operates that way. You PAY taxes, and “get” police and fire services (and libraries, and schools, and roads, and street lights, a monetary system, etc

    But the problems are:
    1) Is the service necessary (Mandatory vs. Discretionary)
    2) The Level of Service
    3) How to most Cost-effectively provide that service

    This is where government on all levels has taken on a life of its own…
    There has been a growing tendency to feel government is always the answer…when in reality government often gets in the way. One experience I had was with building soccer fields. It was to be done by volunteers and with donations. The union had a fit. We finally got permission and got it done in a couple of weeks despite dealing with idiots who wanted to keep a couple trees (in the middle of the field in a county with about 50 million trees). Chainsaws at 5 AM was the answer. You can’t glue ‘em back up once they are down.

    Look, the Big Government approach to things in our life is not sustainable. A better way?
    Empower folks to build and maintain Parks & Fields. Consolidate Services between State, County, City, Schools, Ports, etc.
    Heck, consolidate City’s and especially School Districts.

  34. 37

    Michael spews:

    @35

    Those commie-liberuls down in Portland have had a great deal of success with consolidating services.

  35. 38

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    30. Cascadian spews:

    T

    roll@14 just makes up numbers.

    The 2000 adopted budget was $2.5 billion, with $450 million in the general expense fund. The 2009 adopted budget was $4.9 billion with $627.8 in the general expense fund. The proposed 2010 budget is $4.8 billion with a $621 million general fund. That’s a 92% increase over 10 years in the total budget, and a 38% increase in the general fund.

    I had a hard time finding relevant economic data for the same period, but I did find census data from 2005-2008 for mean income in the county. It increased 12.5%. Over a ten year period (with compounding) that’s going to be damn close to 38%. It looks like decadal rises in income more or less match the growth in general county government.

    But what about Economies of Scale that should be realized as population grows? What about Excess Capacity in some service areas like Parks, Libraries etc.??
    Give us a link for your numbers C.

  36. 39

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Cascadian–
    Here is the link to the King County 2009 Budget–
    http://www.kingcounty.gov/coun.....udget.aspx

    You can also find the 2006 Budget Link on that page.
    The 2006 Budget was $3.46 BILLION
    The 2009 Budget was $4,9 BILLION.
    That’s nearly a 42% increase in 3 years.
    Seems like quite a jump, doesn’t it??

    One other thing to look at Cascadian is the SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGETS.
    These numbers are only from the original adopted budget.
    Supplemental USUALLY add unforseen expenses.

    It might be better to look at the Annual Reports and see what was actually spent.

  37. 40

    Michael spews:

    TOTAL COMPENSATION = Salary + 50%!!

    I’ll knock 5% off your figure as you tend to over state things. When you look at my vacation pay, sick leave, employers contribution to heath insurance, short term disability and my 401K I’m clocking in just a little shy of 45% and I work for a nonprofit.

  38. 41

    headless spews:

    I’ve been under the impression since 1980 that all these things would just ‘trickle down’ by cutting taxes on the wealthy.

    I saw a Laffler Curve that proved it.

  39. 42

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Cascadian–
    Here is an example of a King County Supplemental Budget item from 9/15/09–

    http://mkcclegisearch.kingcoun.....38;Search=

    PS–
    Hardly ever does anyone comment on these backdoor expenditures. Some times the money has already (illegally) been spent or irretrievable committed. The State Auditor gives this a glancing blow and when you challenge it, they tell you there is nothing they can do and folks should elect more forthright, honest people.
    And so it goes.

  40. 43

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    40. Michael spews:

    TOTAL COMPENSATION = Salary + 50%!!

    I’ll knock 5% off your figure as you tend to over state things. When you look at my vacation pay, sick leave, employers contribution to heath insurance, short term disability and my 401K I’m clocking in just a little shy of 45% and I work for a nonprofit.

    I got the info straight from the State HR Website. You have to do some of the math yourself by adding up Vacation, Holidays, Sick Leave, Personal Leave etc…but here is where I got it.

    http://www.dop.wa.gov/CompClas.....ation.aspx

  41. 44

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Cascadian–
    Here is an example of Supplemental Spending slipped in by King Kounty electeds in 2005–

    *$500,000 to help complete construction of McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center, in addition to $500,000 appropriated in the 2006 budget.

    *$750,000 to the African American Museum, Seattle.

    *$500,000 to the Village Theatre, Issaquah.

    *$50,000 to the Federal Way Symphony.

    *$50,000 to the Des Moines Legacy Foundation.

    *$200,000 to El Centro de la Raza, Seattle.

    *$100,000 to the West Seattle Food Bank.

    So rather than bank additional revenue in the face of a Recession, it was pissed away.
    NOW, they are screaming for more money.
    Doesn’t this bug you even a little bit??

  42. 45

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Check this out–

    http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=17877

    Once again, you have a never ending supply of noble causes demanding funding.
    It ultimately comes down to the role of the individual vs. local government.
    Lefty’s get all emotional when they here horrific stories and tend to whip out the CREDIT CARD of the COUNTY.

    Guys like me get emotional…but step back and say what service is necessary, is it already being provided somewhere else, what level of service can we afford and how is it best to pay for this….not just do it during good times and then question it later.

    Emotion is fine.
    But then it becomes a business decision in whether or not to address it and how to do so most cost-effectively AND being specific about how to pay for it.

    Unions lick their chops thinking more dues-paying members…slurp, slurp, slurp.
    Not in the best interest of those in need or taxpayers…just Union Empire Building.

  43. 46

    Michael spews:

    @43

    Couldn’t resist the dig at your bombastic style.

    Still, state salaries are a little lower than private sector. State workers pay isn’t out of line with the rest of the world. Which isn’t to say that as the rest of us take cuts (my raise this year was half what it should have been) that they shouldn’t have too as well.

  44. 47

    busdrivermike spews:

    #44 trundles out his only solution. One note Cynical blames waste, greed, and unions for governments troubles.

    Didn’t the last eight years sound out even the small clang in your iron encased noggin?

    I guess not.

    The Republicans Party keeps playing the the pipe, and the Republo-sheep keep Lim-bah-ing to it.

    Too bad for #44 that after losing two wars, systematic torture, tax breaks for the top 1%, not catching OBL, Abu Ghraib, Pat Tillman,Jessica Lynch, and bailing out Goldman Sachs nobody is listening to your songs anymore. Your ilk have been stripped down to what you always were: Rich white men who give lip service to the Christians, and then enrich….guess who…rich white men.

    Nobody believes what you say. You have no credibility. And we will bring up the GW Bush years at every election for the next twenty years. You are so done, you do not even see the fork in your ass. Now, you are going to create a bigger political chasm by watering down health care reform. You think it is going to be 1994 all over again.

    The proper analogy is 1932.

  45. 48

    ArtFart spews:

    @24 In 1776, the practice of medicine routinely involved the application of leeches to “draw out the evil humours”. (This in fact likely led to George Washington’s death when he contracted what was probably a bad cold.)

    Nowadays, we still have leeches. They run the major banks.

  46. 49

    DavidD spews:

    @25;

    The Nicole Brodeur piece you are referencing would be much more compelling if the man’s tabs had arrived late instead of 8 days early. The reason they arrived 8 days early instead of weeks early is because he used the slowest renewal process.

  47. 50

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @35 After all the taxpayer money you asswipes torched from 2001 to 2008, you’re in no position to complain about anything having to do with gummint spending.

  48. 51

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @45 We wouldn’t need to whip out the county credit card quite so often if there wasn’t so much cost transfer to taxpayers by for-profit enterprises going on.

  49. 52

    SJ Trollpatrol spews:

    35. Mr. Cynical

    SJ–@11

    Now you are thinking…consolidate services with other entities.

    Nahhh!!! just patriotic and rational .. two properties you don’t have.

    But this means eliminating jobs, so watch the Unions scream. This means eliminating Empires of Empire Builders. All the Lefty’s will pat you on the noggin for your idea and ignore it.

    and the righties who now get free services like the KC library, the KC airport, waterfront w/o fees, etc etc.

    How about outsourcing everything but Public Safety. Bids every 2 years. All County Government needs is some Contract Managers.

    WTF is “outsourcing?” You mean we would have our bridges built in Cina and our light rail run between Shanghai and Beijing?

    If you really cared about the future of this Country, you would insist on a viable, no smoke-and-mirrors plan to repay. Not just Obama’s HOPE we can pay it back….cuz that’s all you have.

    You mean a sin Bushie babie’s tax cuts and George;s war? Or do you mean outsourcing our infrastructure and education to India?

    Wise UP and Grow UP.

    Massive Deficit Spending and evergrowing Government at all levels is UNSUSTAINABLE!

    True enough, so why doesn’t the right fess up and pay a tax surcharge to pay of the HUGE debt we added under the Repricans because of their trickle down theory?

    Howsabout stopping th idiotic practice of taxing the poor to pay off binds sold tax free to the wealthy?

    Time to stop the insanity right now.

  50. 53

    SJ Trollpatrol spews:

    44. Mr. Cynical makes (some) good points

    *$500,000 to help complete construction of McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center, in addition to $500,000 appropriated in the 2006 budget.

    Yep .. exzcept that McCaw serves the entire region but ONLY Seattle pays the direct taxes that support it. Same for the Zoo and, to some extent, Harborview. Even the UW gets free city services .. who the f should pay for those?

    *$750,000 to the African American Museum, Seattle.

    good point.

    *$500,000 to the Village Theatre, Issaquah.

    good point there too. .. of course this is Republican proposal

    *$50,000 to the Federal Way Symphony.

    good point there too. .. of course this is Republican proposal

    *$50,000 to the Des Moines Legacy Foundation.

    good point there too. .. of course this is Republican proposal

    *$200,000 to El Centro de la Raza, Seattle.

    Not so good a point. The latino immigrant community is a country wide issue. Have you ever drivne through the gauntlet at Home Depot? Who does your lawn or paints your house?

    *$100,000 to the West Seattle Food Bank.

    good point there too.

  51. 54

    DavidD spews:

    @11;

    That’s what the composting toilets are for! So people can be more self-reliant and not have that pesky government taking away the bodily waste they can use to fertilize their fruit trees.

  52. 55

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    DavidD–
    Actually the Vegan Leftist Hippies contribute much more to Global Warming than us meat-eaters.
    Have you ever walked around the Produce Section at a Co-op?
    PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
    UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

    It smells like they all just crapped themselves.
    Disgusting.

    But they are a good source of product for composting toilets…just seeing them and having to smell them grosses me out though.

  53. 56

    k spews:

    Cyn @ 42- did you read the supplimental you posted? The add was a mandatory settlement as described in the staff report:

    Washington State Law – Interest Arbitration
    Under provisions of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 41.56.030 and R.C.W 41.56.456 the King County Corrections Guild sought and received an interest arbitration award. The award was made on June 15, 2009.

    The other item was a $5+ million reduction. Explain your objection to the Council’s actions.

  54. 57

    X'ad spews:

    55. Mr. Cynical spews:

    DavidD–
    Actually the Vegan Leftist Hippies contribute much more to Global Warming than us meat-eaters.
    Have you ever walked around the Produce Section at a Co-op?
    PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP
    UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

    It smells like they all just crapped themselves.
    Disgusting.

    But they are a good source of product for composting toilets…just seeing them and having to smell them grosses me out though.

    For someone so anal-retentive he licks up his own vomit, you have a lot of nerve complaining about being grossed out.

  55. 58

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    X’ad–
    Your obsession with young boys & girls will soon be fulfilled in Thailand…pervert.

  56. 59

    X'ad spews:

    Your accusing other people about whom you know absolutely nothing certainly betrays your own projection of your pedophile desires, asshole. It’s not surprising but it IS obvious.

  57. 60

    Alki Postings spews:

    Saw today in the West Seattle blog (not a political blog, just a ‘news’ blog):
    “Sheriff Rahr contends that this budget could result in a 75 percent reduction in patrol power in the White Center area (and other nearby unincorporated areas).”

    So which of the two opinions does this follow?
    1. The King County budget is TOO big, these are all un-needed or wasteful positions and we don’t need these officers.

    2. This is an example of ‘overlap’ and these patrols should be picked up by (some) city…who will pay for their new officers by raising x dollars in taxes to pay for them?