Gov. Christine Gregoire, in an effort to close the remaining budget gap, has called for a special legislative session starting on Nov. 28 to discuss closing $2 billion of the deficit. The governor has cut almost $10 billion from the budget in the past three years, but there is still more that needs to be done.
According to an article written by Jerry Cornfield on heraldnet.com, the special session will discuss actions such as cutting criminal supervision periods upon release, end basic health care for low income families, and other actions that will cut painfully “through the muscle and into the bone” of public services.
Certainly, the budget is a big issue. Therefore, is it really wise to plan a deficit reduction program without even considering revenues? Not at all.
Programs and funding are there to help the middle and lower class have a better chance in life and are funded through taxation of businesses, point of sales tax, and property taxes.
One of the budget cuts Gregoire plans to eliminate is the Basic Health Plan, effectively eliminating subsidized health care for 35,000 low-income individuals. This subsidization is required for these low-income individuals because they obviously cannot afford health care on their own.
Along with that she also plans to cut off medical services to 21,000 people who are enrolled in the states Disability Lifeline and Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment Support Act programs.
People are dependent on these programs to survive because a lot of them are in the process of recovering either from an accident or from addiction. To cut some of the only support they have will certainly not bode well for them.
Gregoire also plans to cut 15 percent from state support to colleges and universities. South Puget Sound Community College is already planning a tuition raise next year but I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought out cuts in the middle of this year just like they did last year.
When tuition is skyrocketing and programs are in threat, is cutting school funding really the way to go?
According to the Seattle Times, these cuts will also affect local elementary schools and high schools. Grades 4 through 12 will likely get another two kids per class. They will also experience less learning, as the school year may be shortened by five days.
Students these days are finding it increasingly difficult to get by, most having to take out student loans to afford the basics of tuition and books. The problem is once they get out of college they find themselves in so much debt that they have to work multiple dead-end jobs and end up as another drone of the system.
Another plan for the budget is to cut the length of supervision for all offenders based on severity of offense. Sex offenders will be supervised for 24 months, and other offenders for 12 months.
This effectively makes people less safe.
If offenders are allowed off of a tight leash what is to stop them from offending again? Part of what helps keep an offender from doing what they did again is the fear from being watched; because what they did is known to the community they live in.
According to The Olympian, it is very doubtful whether or not the proposed cuts will even pass, with several of her own party members doubting her actions.
“Everything on this list didn’t have the votes for last year,” said Rep. Ross Hunter.
Raising the minimum wage won’t help stimulate spending either. Whenever minimum wage raises so do prices in the local area.
In the time of the great recession, why would you only consider cutting programs to those who need it most and not tax those who are well off?
Tax all of the multi-national billion dollar corporations we have that sprung up in Washington: Starbucks, Boeing, and Microsoft.
How is this state going broke with all of these really successful corporations being established here?
I say close the tax-loopholes some of the companies are using, such as sweatshops overseas, get the jobs back home, and then with the new tax money we could easily fund all of the state programs we need.