Letters to the Editor

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BUDGET: Legislators must sacrifice to do job

Letter by Willie A. Painter, Tacoma on Dec. 9, 2011 at 10:28 am with 6 Comments »
December 9, 2011 12:53 pm

Our state’s Legislature has a $1.4 billion budget shortfall to fix. To build a reserve for the state, the governor has asked that the Legislature find a total of $2 billion through reductions and/or revenue.

Each day, our state government spends approximately $41 million. With 63 percent of the state budget constitutionally and/or legally protected from reductions, only $8.7 billion of the budget is available for reduction. A $2 billion reduction represents 23 percent of the $8.7 billion available.

Time is of the essence. Each day that passes, the options and flexibility for reductions available to the Legislature become limited, thereby limiting the chances for the Legislature to make reductions that are truly in the best interest of our state.

I know that decisions that are both tough and urgent still require careful analysis, but I urge our elected officials to show good leadership during this time when good leadership is needed the most.

I would like our Legislators to show a true commitment to the over 6,700,000 residents of our great state that they represent by not taking any days off, even the holidays, until they get the job done.

Good leaders make sacrifices to benefit those they lead. Once elected, being a Legislator is not a privilege and an honor so much as it is a duty.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. muckibr says:

    I think Willie makes a good point. I second it!!!

    All approve say “Aye!”

  2. denismenis says:

    True statement, Willie. But first they must be smart, tough, and not bought off with campaign dollars. That weeds out too many of them to be effective.

  3. alindasue says:

    The problem is that every day during the extensions that the legislators work, they get paid for… adding to our expenses in the process. Your suggestion would be a good one Mr. Painter, if they had to work the extra days for the same salary like my husband does when traffic makes his truck runs late. I’m sure they’d all quit posturing and hurry to find a solution once all that extra session “overtime” is no longer paid for…

  4. muckibr says:

    Better than that alindasue, for every day that the legislators serve in “extended session” they should have to personally pay a penalty out of their own pocket to the state.

    If they cannot get all their work done during the regular session, then they should not be rewarded with more money to go into extended session, they should be fined for not doing their job in the first place!

  5. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Aye. Who wouldn’t agree with Willie. And I couldn’t agree more with the preceding posts as well.

    Hold their feet to the fire, make the cuts necessary to balance the budget and comply with the constitutional mandate, and do so in regular session, or on their own time.


  6. commoncents says:

    It would be interesting to see a list of the representatives that collect the per diem rate during this period. The deserve the salary – they’d get paid that whether they are there or not….but that $100 (approx) a day per diem? No way…

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