Ross: Worried about balloning government budgets? Get involved
I know that many of us are mystified as to why it takes so much money to run a government, any government.
There’s this perception that once a legislator is elected, that person becomes a broken slot machine spewing money in all directions, but that’s not the whole story.
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Last night I watched a budget hearing of the State Senate Ways and Means Committee on TVW. And here’s a little of what I heard:
“I’m here today to highlight our strong support for the governor’s investments in weatherization and utility assistance and also to ask you to add $15,450,000…”
“…my organization provides transportation, food, information, and case management as homelessness continues to grow…”
“…in a care crisis where seniors and people with disabilities are waiting without care because there are not enough caregivers in the workforce…”
“…to substantially increased funding. For the distressed hospital grant program…”
“…I’d like to respectfully ask that you add $1.7 million to expand the dementia resource catalyst pilot program to two additional sites.”
There was a common theme – thank you for your support, however…
“We were disappointed that the governor did not include the $47.6 million dollars in biodiversity funding…”
“… we appreciate the governor including the base funding in the budget at $2 million, but we respectfully request additional funding to a total of $4.25 million …”
“…representing the Washington retail association to support the governor’s proposal to fund the organized retail Crime Task Force at $2.2 million dollars. We would encourage the committee to consider increasing it to the full requests of the AG to $3 million.”
And we all want to stop organized retail crime. We all want to train more police – support crime victims, prevent suicide, and provide mental health care – all those causes came up by the time the session ended at about 7:45 p.m. last night.
The theme from almost every participant was “thank you, but we need more.”
I heard only one witness actually ask for less money – concerned citizen Debi Moloney.
“I’m here today to ask that you do not find the $600,000 requested by Washington State Parks and Recreation Department for their development plans at Miller Peninsula State Park, their plans do not reflect any current scientific thinking around climate changing issues,” Moloney asked in the meeting.
And I bring this up because there are always calls for tax relief. But when legislators are flooded with all these worthy causes – it’s tough to say no.
Unless you have a person like Debi Moloney show up and say I, as a taxpayer, do not want this program.
So I’m suggesting that those of you who are tired of seeing ballooning budgets – do what Debi did. All this stuff is online; find something you think is a waste of money and sign up to testify.
By the way, if the committee does follow Debi’s advice and cuts the $600,000, I say we use it to obliterate the graffiti in the Mercer Street tunnels. I can think of no better gift to the environment.
- Tune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.