This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
The Great Recession has brought a painful reckoning to local governments that seem almost hard-wired for constant spending increases. King County is a spectacular example.
Year after year, the county executive and County Council have routinely adopted budgets exceeding the rate of inflation. With the recession now crimping tax revenues, the bill has come due.
County officials say they’re staring at a $60 million shortfall next year and another shortfall on the same order the following year.
Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff Sue Rahr are warning that major layoffs of deputies and other criminal justice personnel will be necessary if voters don’t approve a tax increase, which the Republicans on the County Council have so far refused to put on the ballot.
Shades of Pierce Transit, which has been saying it may cut more than half its bus service without new taxes.
This isn’t a suddenly blooming 2010 problem. Even more than Pierce Transit, King County has spent years enthusiastically digging itself into this pit.
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