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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Why should the voters be willing to sacrifice for themselves if the state worker unions are not willing to do the same?"

Posted by on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

After she announced her drive for a half-cent sales tax increase yesterday, Governor Chris Gregoire was asked the above question by a reporter.

In response, Gregoire, clearly pissed, gave an uncharacteristically tough defense of her "demoralized" state workforce.

"Wait a minute, wait a minute," Gregoire said, leaving the podium to grab a large chart that she could hold over the reporter's head. "I don't know how you can say that."

State workers are already sitting next to empty desks and having to do more because so many of their colleagues have been let go, Gregoire said. Now she's proposing to lay off another 1,500 state workers to deal with the current $2 billion budget shortfall. Plus, out of the $10.5 billion that's been cut from the state budget over the last three years, 19 percent of those cuts—almost $2 billion worth—have come out of salaries and compensation for state-employed K-12 workers. "They have stepped up," Gregoire declared, returning to her point that it's now time for voters to step up and approve a small, temporary revenue increase to pay for basic state services.

Watch the video and see a new Gregoire emerging, finally, as she heads into her last year in office.


Comments (24) RSS

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Way to parrot Frank Blethen's bullshit, courageous reporter!
Posted by maddogm13 on November 22, 2011 at 1:46 PM · Report this
Where did this fired up Gregoire come from?
Posted by cracked on November 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
Well... less fired up farther in, but a least some passion.
Posted by cracked on November 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
State workers pay sales tax like everyone else. Is the questioner retarded or simply an imbecile?
Posted by kinaidos on November 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM · Report this
state employment is bloated. Cut the fat. CUT. THE FAT.
Posted by sonder on November 22, 2011 at 2:03 PM · Report this
This will never pass.

There's no way to effectively communicate the need to the voters.
Posted by Lack Thereof on November 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
@5 Where would you suggest? Teachers? Cops? I'm sure you have the facts right there.
Posted by maddogm13 on November 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM · Report this
aardvark 8
@5 highways and roads? militarized police? sure! cut it!
Posted by aardvark on November 22, 2011 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
@5 most of that are federal grants - if you'd like, that work could be done in other states, and they'll get the sales taxes and property taxes and income taxes instead of WA.

But good point re the militarized police ... start with the DEA.
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 22, 2011 at 2:42 PM · Report this
Geni 10
@6 - why do you say that? Many of the voters are the same people receiving unpaid furloughs, getting layoffs, just generally taking it in the shorts right now due to the horrible economy. I don't actually know a whole hell of a lot of people who are prospering right now.
Posted by Geni on November 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 11
Internet Troll becomes real life news reporter, film at 11.
Posted by Westlake, son! on November 22, 2011 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Simply Me 12
We need to get rid of the initiative and referendum system before we destroy ourselves.
Posted by Simply Me on November 22, 2011 at 2:56 PM · Report this
She could stop laying them off and pay them less instead. Paying a 3% 401k match (which many employees wouldn't even take advantage of) is a lot cheaper than funding a pension. If they paid 25% of their insurance premiums that would not only cost the state less but also decrase their incentive to ask for more expensive insurance going forward. And if the state stack-ranked workers it could cut the pay of lower-ranked workers while continuing to reward its most productive workers. (That list would come in handy when it came time to do RIFs, too.)
Posted by David Wright on November 22, 2011 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 14
Gheezuz this is all such crap. It's called a Depression because it hurts. The way Americans whine and bitch you'd think they expect life to be a total joy ride from day one until they die.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on November 22, 2011 at 3:43 PM · Report this
mike in oly 15
We already are being paid less. We have taken large pay cuts for three years straight. We have had our office staff cut by over 30% to the point we can no longer function effectively, and the Leg. has now contracted out to a private corporation (HMS) to do part of our job - who get to keep the $$ they bring in, not the State, who got 100% of our recoveries before this mess. Cutting State workers does nothing but create less $$ flowing into our local economies, more local money moving out of state, and less services for our citizens.
Posted by mike in oly on November 22, 2011 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 16
Or we could just expire the corporate tax exemptions and other tax giveaways to Millionaires and Big Business.
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 17
@15 is correct.
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM · Report this
Eli Sanders, how do you manage to get everything soooo wrong, soooo consistently, dood???

(Must be trying for a job with Gregoire's staff as well as Cantwell's staff??

@15, mike in oly, gets it perfectly: . Cutting State workers does nothing but create less $$ flowing into our local economies, more local money moving out of state, and less services for our citizens.

To Sanders: Modern state econ for dummies: back in the early 00s, the Dept. of Commerce funds (that's our taxpayer funds, dood!) went to various chamber of commerces around America for the sole purpose of giving seminars to corporations in the most efficient manner of offshoring local jobs, thusly unemploying ever more American workers.

Case in point: the local Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, and their sister sleazefit, the Trade Alliance, using Commerce (as in taxpayer) funds, did give a number of those seminars.

Now, let's do a quick review: Wall Streeters, so patriotically peforming their "public service" by serving in the Treasury and State, utilizing foreign aid funds, did ship those funds overseas to build foreign factories, production facilities, R&D labs, affiliated infrastructure, etc.) then American-based multinationals and corporations did offshore jobs to said already (built by taxpayer funds') foreign facilities.

Also around that timeframe when the GSCoC was providing those seminars to create ever greater unemployment and poverty, Gov. Gary Locke (Washington state's gov) did offshore state jobs at 49 out of 51 state agencies --- a most egregious and moronic anti-economic policy.

Next we observe Gov. Gary being appointed by Obama to Secretary of Commerce (recall that dept. ???), who would then sign a bunch of waivers, helping to ship federal stimulus funds off to China and elsewhere offshore.

Next, of course, Gov. Lock is appointed ambassador to......China!

Now, Gregoire want ever more regressive taxes, which primarily burdens the lowest socioeconomic groups and poorest among us.

Note anything wrong with the above????? Any cognition there, Sanders?????

You're welcome......

To contact Lt. Pike, the psycho pepper sprayer's cell phone via email:

(And for gosh sakes' -- please don't ever bother Mayor Bloomberg at his home phone number at 1-212-772-1081 (especially if you ever hated his appointment of GE's Jack Welch to "fix" NYC's educational system?????).)…

Posted by sgt_doom on November 22, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
I'm glad the reporter asked the question. A lot of people think it and this was an opportunity to say: No and here's why.

Kind of surprising to see that opportunity taken I suppose.

Several times a month I listen to British interviews with press, just to remember what it's like to hear hostilish detailed questions that are obvious to ask and answers as a matter of course. Sometimes the answer is obvious B.S. and sometimes an action is clearly and powerfully defended. It's a beautiful thing if the point is for the reader or listener to actually have some idea of what is going on. This was a little like that.
Posted by david on November 23, 2011 at 6:48 AM · Report this
The believe that raising taxes to protect civil service jobs will help the economy is false. A transfer of funds from the private sector to government does not increase the amount of disposable income in the economy, it remains the same. Sure, you hate to see anyone lose his job. Civil servants have enjoyed relatively good salaries and benefits for years, while the rest has suffered a steadily declining standard of living and less opportunity. Plus, let's face it, much of our current economic dilemma is the result of onerous now-growth restrictions imposed by government regulators who didn't mind who they hurt, so long as their jobs were protected. Finally, no one can deny that state government is replete with laziness, inefficiency, and downright corruption. DSHS is so maladroit it cannot prevent kids from being murdered by those who are supposed to protect them, and DOL is thoroughly corrupt. It is a system of nepotism, party hacks, and poorly-educated hangers-on who spend much of their day playing computer solitude and figuring out how to suck up to their supervisor. People dont like to hear this sort of thing, but its true. The problem is, there's no longer an independent media that keeps tabs on it.
Posted by Terrence Knight on November 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Terrence. Your facts. Your grammar. Your reasoning. It's a right-wing troll hat trick. Congratulations.

Private entities are no different except you can't vote the CEO of Boeing out on his ass. You are completely blinded by hatred of government. Any organization is going to be subject to the problems you cite. Some are better, some are worse. The mechanisms are there to expose and correct these problems in government. The fact is, you just don't see them in private entities because they aren't transparent. People waste time and money in the private sector all the time. There's theft, corruption, cronyism, nepostism. So what, do we get rid of privately-owned business? Of course not.

Stop making blanket statements and ranting and do something positive to make government better. Sorry, but it aint going away.
Posted by beernotwar on November 23, 2011 at 3:39 PM · Report this
@ David Wright, Terrence Knight, - sound good, but obviously don't know your sh*t. The mainline workers (the lower ranked) are the ones who do all of the field work. They are the ones who rescue babies from meth houses. They are the ones who are at accidents picking up pieces of the dead after an accident, they are the ones who have given up 3% of their wages, taken unpaid furloughs, accepted a pay freeze for nearly 4 years, are paying an increase in the medical benefits. The reason why a lot of of the "lower workers" don't invest more in a 401K is because they cannot afford to. And many State workers earn far less than their education would earn them in the private sector. Blind hatred is just that - blind. How many of you can look at a child beaten black and blue, then have to deal with the legal system and their parents w/o losing it? Do not judge so much without understanding the work. The workloads are out of control due to not enough vital front line workers. That in itself leads to not being able to oversee the vulnerable as often and as intensely as they should be overseen. Privatization means the dollar becomes the driving force and the quality of trained workers goes down due to inexperience and lack of education. Then the vulnerable really will pay more of a price. Some people amaze me with their ignorance....
Posted by peacefulady on November 23, 2011 at 8:44 PM · Report this
Looks like I hit a nerve. Any schoolboy knows that raising taxes will make the recession worse and result in even bigger deficits – that ridiculous state parks fee is proof of that. In any case, the defense, "it's the same in government" is really an admission tbat I am right. But it misses the point. Sure, the corporate machine is blind and cynical, but government, as you yourself admit, is no better. The difference, of course, is that IBM is not accountable to the public, while government is. Stockholders can vote out a bad CEO, at least theoretically; just as voters can vote out bad officials, just as theoretically, but there are many reasons why that is not a practical reality – note that when voters turned the government over in '08, things got worse.

I stand by what I said about state employees. I personally know government workers who do nothing and are only waiting out their retirement; I know a DSHS employee who knocks down $70k a year plus bennies, who purposely takes sick days and then goes to work on weekends so he can claim OT; and there are hundreds of 'policy analysts' that nobody can tell what they do and in fact can't even describe their jobs. Problem is, there is no longer any press oversight, so these things continue. The left, thru its effete ignorance, lost the battle to the corporatists long ago – then they lost the battle for a free press. With those august defeats, it is now nearly impossible to fight at all.

It's useless to accuse me of being a "right-wing troll" – I am a democratic socialist and Jeffersonian who has been active in the Democratic Party for many years – that kind of hysterical talk only exposes the neo-left as a pack of arrogant elitists who, let me remind you, Orwell warned us about. (In '1984' the government has been taken over by leftist bureacratic statists who are intolerant of dissent.) It's exactly this kind of attitude that has caused most people to no longer much care about state workers. I don't hate civil servants or anyone else – certainly not the government, which is an abstraction anyway – but mostly I care about ordinary working folks, regardless of their party affiliation, who are being bled dry by greedy corporatists and cynical public employee unions. These days its hard to tell the difference.

Posted by Terrence Knight on November 24, 2011 at 11:46 AM · Report this
It is totally misguided to pit state workers against the sales tax. I am against the sales tax because it is already high enough! In fact, I think it should be repealed and replaced with a tax on corporate profits.
Posted by Tax raider on November 25, 2011 at 10:59 PM · Report this

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