"The Seattle Times editorial board rejects the proposed budget offered by Senate Democrats in Olympia," the kicker on their latest editorial arrogantly reads, as if our state constitution actually grants the Seattle Times a veto over legislation.
Of course, if the editors did have veto power over state legislation, it's not clear they'd be capable of educating themselves sufficiently to exercise this power wisely, at least judging from the profoundly uninformed (uninformative? misinforming?) nature of their objections:
At the top of the list should be four cost-reducing reforms: a rollback of subsidized early retirement for public employees, a consolidation of health benefits for school employees, a repeal of Initiative 728 and a new system of four-year budget balancing. At the very least, they should get a floor vote in both houses.
Um... except... the senate proposal already includes three of the four "cost-reducing reforms" the editors are demanding, and they should know this because, according to Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, she explained this to several of the editors before they wrote this editorial. Under the senate proposal, the state would move to four-year budgeting, I-728 would be subject to future appropriations, and health benefits for school employees would be consolidated statewide.
(Though far from any immediate cost-saving, the latter reform will cost $14 million in the current budget, and produce only modest longterm savings due to the fact the state currently pays schools considerably less to cover teachers' health benefits than the state pays to cover its own employees. But, whatever.)
So the editors apparently reject this budget on the grounds it doesn't do what it actually does.
But what really irks me about the editorial is this tired and untrue line:
The people know they have to live within their means and believe government should do the same.
Washington is a wealthy state that raises tax revenue like a poor one. We could easily afford to provide the level of services voters say they want—you know, like properly funded schools and universities—if only the wealthiest Washingtonians were taxed at rates remotely approaching those shouldered by the poorest. But we won't, because that's one reform the Seattle Times editorial board refuses to even discuss.
"I don't see how it can happen," Senator Brown replied when asked if we could possibly meet the recent Supreme Court decision on K-12 funding without raising taxes, "especially since we've already gone through four years of cuts on the spending side." It could cost more than $6 billion per biennium to fund the education reforms the court points to as the standard, and there simply isn't another $6 billion to cut from the non-education side of the budget.
But you'd never know this from the obstructionist magical thinking we find on our state's op-ed pages.