Republican Coup Advances Common Sense Budget in Washington State Senate

by lewwaters

Maybe, just maybe there is a ray of hope for a little fiscal sanity in Olympia, Washington this evening. Led by Senator Don Benton (R 17th), a rare procedural move was put forth with the help of three Democrat Senators, Tim Sheldon of Potlach, Rodney Tom of Medina and Jim Kastama of Puyallup that let the minority Republicans seize the floor, allowing any bill to be pulled to the floor, even those that haven’t had a public hearing.

Several bills the Democrats wanted passed immediately were cast aside as Republicans brought their budget plan to the floor, which is now moving towards approval.

Remaining Democrats tried in vain to attach 8 amendments, all 8 being defeated.

Senator Ed Murray (D. 43rd) is livid being out maneuvered as he has been. “This is an incredible abuse of power. And considering what my party and myself as chair was willing to do … this is the payback. This is the response,” the Olympian quotes Murray as saying

The Republican budget plan has $251.5 million more for K-12 education in it compared to what Senate Democrats proposed.

Senate GOP Leader Mike Hewitt (16th) says, “It’s very hard for me to listen to complaints about short notice. We’ve been down here since December, trying to work together, exactly like we did last year, and we had absolutely no cooperation whatsoever – none. Joe (Zarelli) has presented idea after idea and absolutely none of them were accepted. So we have chosen to take this method.”

The Columbian quotes Democratic governor Christine Gregoire saying, “Where’s the transparency? This is not how we do business in Washington State. It hasn’t seen the light of day. The public hasn’t been able to say a word.”

We cannot forget how she has not been a “transparent” governor or how she and the Democrat majority in Olympia have snowballed over nearly any Republican efforts to return some fiscal sanity to the state.

Erik Smith of the Washington State Wire informs us Senate Democrats’ Effort to Pass a Partisan Budget Results in Takeover From the Middle as we see that Senate Democrats tried to shut out minority Republicans and moderate Democrats out of the budget writing process.

Sen. Jim Kastama (D 25th), under criticism from his party said, “I think this is the best move for our state, which is to put forward a budget that is balanced, that doesn’t kick the can down the road.” Kastama is running for Secretary of State this year and casts aside warnings of political repercussions, choosing to do what is right for the state.

Sen. Tim Sheldon (D 35th) echoed Kastama saying, “I am not lending my vote to any party. I am representing the people of my district, and I believe they want a fiscally responsible budget, one that balances revenues with expenditures.”

After locking Republicans and moderate Democrats out of the budget process, Sen. Don Benton, (R. 17th) moved for the vote for the “9th Order of Business,” the procedural move that allows the minority party to pull bills to the floor. Democrats, shocked to see 3 of their number side with Republicans, began crying out how this move “destroys bipartisanship in the Senate.”

Never mind they had just locked out the other party prior to Benton’s move.

The budget written by Sen. Joe Zarelli, (R. 18th) makes “$722 million in cuts, leaves a half-billion-dollar reserve, and avoids entirely the shift in expenses to the next budget. It assumes long-term changes in state-employee pension programs that will save the state $133 million in the short term and $2.3 billion over the long haul. Most education spending is spared. The budget preserves the Basic Health Plan, the state’s subsidized health insurance program for the working poor, but it eliminates the Disability Lifeline, the state’s medical assistance program for unemployable adults” according to the Washington State Wire.

Contrary to cries from majority Democrats, this is what we send people to Olympia with expectations to do. Make hard decisions and balance the budget. To be responsible with our tax dollars and curtail some of the runaway spending we have seen since Governor Gregoire was elected.

Should the Senate pass the Republican budget, there remains the matter of the House which has a Democrat majority as well. Democrats there will likely kill it, out of spite if for no other reason.

Voters will then have a clear idea of just who is really trying to lead the state towards recovery.

11 Comments to “Republican Coup Advances Common Sense Budget in Washington State Senate”

  1. This is the first time I’ve heard that someone finally got a comeupance. 🙂 Nice job Benton. 🙂

    Lew, thank you for brightening up my morning.

  2. If you take a look at eh comparison between the two, it is clear Education is cut very hard in this Republican budget.

    Click to access SOOverview0302.pdf

    Not that I like using budget gimmicks to get to a balanced budget, but cutting essential education programs (again) is foolish.

    Thankfully, this bill will die on the House floor or the Governor’s desk, and Rodney Tom and the two other democrats that voted for this bill in the Senate will be stripped of their committees, and perhaps the caucus as well.

  3. Yes…The Reich heavily punishes those who don’t don’t vote with the rest of the mind-numbed robots.

  4. I think it is awesome! I was there when house speaker pro tem a democrat from the 49th Jim Moeller stated that his job was to spend money not cut and not balance budgets but spend our money. He is the true definition of a progressive who believes in the “D’s” having the power and running things the way they want not the way the “R’s” want. What happened to running things the way Washingtonians want?

  5. Any cut to education is not enough. They’ve been getting away with murder for years… and that’s got to stop.

  6. Funny…an election year for all those Republican senators. Go figure!

  7. re: KJ

    Murder? Really?! I guess if you equate a Washington citizen working to educate more children every year; that come to school less prepared; all for decreasing pay and the ire of the public, then yes, obviously teachers really are screwing the pooch and are the source of all our common misfortunes…

    Please volunteer in your local school. They need the community’s help, you would love it, and you would also see what happens in the classroom. Until then, please refrain from speaking about things you don’t really have first-hand knowledge of.

  8. Tony, we have been pouring money into education for years with dismal results.

    Even Patty Murray, in an effort to bolster support for one of her higher education bills said in August 2011, “Too often, I hear from students who feel that what they learn in school isn’t relevant to the work they will do when they graduate — and unfortunately, too often they’re right.”

    How can we forget how the Teachers union caused the state to lose a $13.2 Million grant in 2008 because they couldn’t control the money?

    Since continually pouring money isn’t producing results, obviously that is not the problem. Maybe the problem is education being top heavy with administrators? Maybe we need more of a merit system to retain the best teachers and rid the system of those who aren’t really interested in teaching the kids.

    Maybe the teachers union needs to begin encouraging members to share in the sacrifice or pay their fair share on par with the private sector while we weather this Great Recession.

    But it is obvious that pouring more and more money is not solving the problem.

    And don’t forget, that money poured into education is coming from a struggling middle class who is about tapped out. 4 years of double digit unemployment in Clark County should tell you something.

  9. OMG! “Tony in Adams” you are a sanctimonious, self-righteous ass. What exactly are your qualifications to be dictating ANYTHING to me or anyone on this forum?! You embarass me as a human being and Liberal Democrat.

  10. Tony is just a trolling “Boogieman”, Martin. Don’t get your hopes up.

  11. Hate the unions, not the teachers themselves. Many are very hardworking, underpaid, and have little or no no power to change anything at the curriculum, union management or administrative levels.

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