Politics Hey, Big Spender.
posted by January 11 at 13:01 PMon
At this morning’s press conference, Seattle Times reporter David Postman smiled, welcomed me to Olympia, and then lit into me. Postman said I was being “unfair.” He was defending his colleague Ralph Thomas.
My Oly•Intel column this week (plus a companion Slog post yesterday) took issue with a front-page story that Thomas wrote in last Sunday’s Seattle Times: “Governor’s Big Spending Plan: Can We Afford It?”
Postman said Thomas’s story was right on—asking a fair question about Gregoire’s $30 billion budget, which proposes $4 billion in new spending.
I had taken issue with the story for portraying Gov. Gregoire’s budget through a standard GOP lens: “It’s unsustainable!” the piece explained.
That’d be okay, if the piece also had explained why it’s unsustainable.
The GOP would have you believe, and the Seattle Times laid out the problem this way, that Gregoire’s budget is unsustainable because she’s expanding government. She’s going on a “spending spree” the story said.
That’s the GOP frame, to use a fancy word.
I agree that the budget is unsustainable. But it’s unsustainable because years of tax cuts and Eyman initiatives (plus an inequitable tax structure where rich people pay three percent of their income in taxes and poor people pay 17 percent of their income in taxes) has prevented government from doing its job.
Government is trying to drive on a half tank of gas. Yes, that’s unsustainable, but not because Gregoire is expanding government. Her budget is actually small when judged by the six previous biennium budgets.
So, indeed, I agree with Postman that his colleague Thomas asked a fair question. But Thomas’s article didn’t offer any anwswer other than the same-old GOP scare mongering about uncouth spending.