In a press release about the budget forecast there’s, a paragraph about McCleary where Representative Terry Nealey says:
“The demands by the state Supreme Court for the Legislature to meet educational funding requirements under the McCleary decision will likely lead for new calls during the 2015 session to raise taxes. That would be devastating to our state’s economy. The correct course of action is to fund education first within the budget and let the economy heal by resisting job-killing tax increases. If we stay the course, Washington’s citizens will have more job opportunities, our state will reap the benefits of higher revenue, and we will be able to meet our constitutional requirements as it relates to education.”
This is a broader press release about how the revenue forecast increased $157 million for the biennium. But we’re billions behind. As long as 2 billion or so is more than 157 million, we’re not just going to be able to grow out of our problems.
But I will meet Rep Nealy part of the way: Yes raising taxes can have a deleterious effect on the economy. That’s true. But what the GOP never acknowledges is that so does cutting government services. So I would like to hear how the state could cut the difference between what grew or what the state can expect to grow and what’s needed to fulfill the McCleary obligations. Because suddenly making massive cuts to social services will also affect the economy in a negative way.
Hell, even the largely mythical wringing efficiencies from the government or cuts to wages and pensions would hurt the economy as it would mean less money being pumped into the economy. Government spending drives the economy in its way. Obviously, when we have a balanced budget, those efficiencies are generally balanced out by the taxes that have to be paid to fund them. But that’s the point: we’re going to have to look at spending and at taxes if we want to fix McCleary without doing too much damage to the economy. And since we’ve been mostly cutting in the past years, it may be time for more taxes.