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Friday, April 20, 2007

Sneak Peek at GOP Message

posted by on April 20 at 13:51 PM

I hung out with former state GOP chair Chris Vance this morning. He’s currently working as a Republican consultant—most recently working against the PBDE ban in Olympia. (He lost.)

Anyway, he laid out Dino Rossi’s strategy for 2008, which is: Bash Gov. Gregoire for expanding the budget by one third. He doesn’t have that quite right, but he’s not way off. If you don’t adjust for inflation, the increase between the ‘03-05 budget and the brand new budget is not a third, but it is nearly 26%.

The budget that Gov. Gregoire inherited, the ‘03-05 budget, was $25.5 billion. Her ‘05-07 budget was $29.6 billion—a 16% increase.

She’s about to pass a $30.1 billion general fund budget—an 8% increase. Obviously, that first 16% jump accounts for most of the so-called expansion, the aforementioned 26%.

But, keep in mind, the ‘03-05 budget was a recession budget, and when the economy came bouncing back, there was ground to make up.

And this isn’t the way you should compare budgets over time anyway. Indeed, the right way to do it is to look at what percentage the state budget represents of the overall economy. After all, as the economy grows, the state has a responsibility to service it and keep it humming by meeting education, transportation, health, and regulatory needs.

And the fact is: Gregoire’s budget is consistent with every budget going back 10 years. Including the Rossi/Locke budget. It’s about 6.1% of all income earned by Washingtonians, a common way of looking at the size of state government, according to this report by the Washington Budget and Policy Center. The Rossi/Locke budget clocked in at 6%.

Moreover, Gregoire is hardly “expanding” government. In fact, she’s still playing catch-up to meet our needs. Education is a perfect example. The $1 billion in “new” education spending isn’t really all new spending—the budget is just finally making good on long-standing voter initiatives 728 and 732 to reduce class sizes and give teachers cost-of-living increases. It also includes back-filling pensions that were supposed to be funded in the ‘03-05 budget, as well as the first installment of estate tax spending on education. These are all things the voters have demanded.

So, the onus bounces back to Dino Rossi and the GOP. If Gregoire has actually “expanded” government, what should get cut?

RSS icon Comments


WHAT. Wouldn't it be far, far easier for the GOP to bash Gregoire's governing impotence, especially with the viaduct and her unwillingness to exercise her authority?

C'mon, GOP. If you're gonna smear our useless governor, don't pussyfoot her uselessness. You never have sidestepped a chance to bash before and now's no time to start.

Posted by Gomez | April 20, 2007 2:19 PM

i have to say that i wasn't that excited about gregoire from the beginning (i still voted for her though, rossi is the bush of the nw). but i think she's turned out to be a pretty good governor, not perfect, but way better than my expectations. i think she'll win by a lot more this time.

Posted by something else | April 20, 2007 5:08 PM

Dude, you're not getting an underwater tunnel, you're getting a viaduct.

Trust me on this.

Now, go back to sleep, Gomez.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 20, 2007 5:08 PM

So, the onus bounces back to Dino Rossi and the GOP. If Gregoire has actually “expanded” government, what should get cut?

Oh, come on, that's too easy a question for them. They'll just say "government itself should be cut!"

Posted by Daniel K | April 20, 2007 8:25 PM

Dino Rossi's real campaign? Like the last time he will avoid all discussion of issues and show he's a nice guy with a good looking family.

McGavick ran a Rossi campaign against Cantwell and she finally caught on. I don't think Gregoire will be caught flat footed again.

Posted by me | April 20, 2007 9:10 PM

It's also ironic that Gregoire has made investments in transportation and education that Rossi wouldn't have, but that many of the state's business leaders believe is necessary. The Republican/Eyman anti-tax strategy has narrowed their base and eliminated Bellevue and much of east King County as their stronghold.

Rossi did a good job in the last election of staying on message, while Gregoire played a prevent defense. I agree with what me says: Gregoire will be doing a lot of blitzing in 2008.

Posted by Ebenezer | April 20, 2007 9:36 PM

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