As usual, the Seattle Times editorial board is willing to make all the tough choices:
THE state Legislature must accomplish mission impossible this session. In the worst budget cycle in decades, lawmakers still must pass reform legislation that propels schools into the 21st century.
The price tag will be in the billions, but not now. This is a decades-long investment.
Uh-huh. The Times wants the Legislature to redefine basic education to fund full-day kindergarten for everybody, and preschool for those who can’t afford it. They also want the state to fund technology and security, while restoring about a billion dollars worth of education spending cuts in the proposed 2009-2011 budget. And they want to do all that, without raising any new revenues.
So, let me get this straight. First, Washington state’s paper of record cautions the Senate Majority Leader to choose personal ambition over the common good, and now it’s urging the Legislature to approve a popular and expensive series of education reforms, that it can’t possibly afford, essentially just saying “we’ll figure out how to pay for it in the future.”
And they have the temerity to complain about politicians?
Don’t get me wrong, I mostly agree with the Times’ education spending priorities. I just think that the responsible (and mathematically honest) thing to do is to actually talk about how we’re going to pay for the things we promise.