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Washington state budget news: The other shoe drops

The other shoe drops: Senate and House Democrats have made final budget proposals, Governor Gregoire has promised to sign off, and everyone in Olympia gets to go home. Meanwhile, billions in cuts are fast approaching, and it for now it looks like voters won’t be weighing in. The opportunity to ‘buy back’ cut programs and fund investments in public structures through a ballot measure never materialized – and yet another opportunity to fix our backwards tax structure was lost. But one lawmaker is looking out for the health of our kids — and our tax structure. | Spokesman Review

Opinion: Talking the talk, but…: Despite majorities in both the House and Senate and holding the office of the Governor, Washington state Democrats were unable to open discussion on a bill that would put a revenue increase on the November ballot. New revenue sources are often considered political ‘third rails’ – touch it and die. But in a year with unprecedented cuts to public programs and infrastructure, choices were largely shaped by corporate interests. |

Budget snapshot: The recent release of the 2010-2011 budget has shed more light on the reality of the cuts. Among them: $800 million cut from public-school funding, $255 million from the Basic Health Plan, and a net cut (after tuition increases) of $325 million to higher education. Expect more (bad) news the coming weeks, as communities and local school boards attempt to absorb these cuts. | Seattle Times

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