There are two sides to a balance sheet, but you wouldn't know it looking at the work of Washington state's Great Recession budget writers.
The Washington State Budget and Policy Center issued a new report today on the potential budgetary impact of Tim Eyman's two-thirds-supermajority-reimposing Initiative 1185, and well, the prospects don't look too good.
The private sector has added 64,000 jobs since June of 2009, but our state and local governments have shed nearly 18,000 additional jobs over the same time period. That's 18,000 people who aren't spending their paychecks, and who aren't providing essential services in education, health care, child care, and other public sectors. Over that same period budget cuts have cost 66,000 Washingtonians their health coverage, and 22,000 people their disability benefits. And so on.
Washington State Budget & Policy Center
Our state and local governments continue to shed jobs even as the economy improves.
During the worst recession of the post-World War II era, the supermajority law has given a small handful of lawmakers the ability to block legislation to raise the additional revenues necessary to bolster Washington’s economy. As a result, policymakers have been forced to slash funding for health care, schools and colleges, and other public investments that create jobs and support a strong state economy.
[...] As long as Washington state is saddled with the onerous supermajority law, the state will not be able to make job-creating investments in transportation, public safety, health care, and education. If I-1185 is allowed to cement the law into place for another two years, those investments will continue to erode, forcing the next generation of Washingtonians to accept fewer jobs and limited opportunities.
Our gubernatorial candidates can talk all they want about outgrowing our current budgetary crisis, but our longterm structural revenue deficit makes that impossible. I-1185's undemocratic two-thirds supermajority requirements locks in the austerity status quo, and austerity is a recipe for economic stagnation and decline.