Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: T.C. Broadnax


Our hopes and wishes for a brighter new year

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Shake up that Etch A Sketch. A new year dawns – and so does hope that the world can move beyond the blunders, disappointments and nasty predicaments of 2012.
Some of our hopes for 2013:

• The drawdown of U.S. troops – including Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers – continues on course in Afghanistan. The bleeding ends.

• The Seahawks win the Super Bowl in February.

• Gov. Jay Inslee proves better at finding money for public schools than his campaign rhetoric suggested.

• Washington’s pot smokers obey the law that legalized marijuana – especially the parts about licensed sales, and keeping the drug out of sight and away from minors.

• Randy Dorn, the state superintendent of public schools, gives up the idea of suing the voters to stop charter schools.

• Lawmakers figure out that they can’t keep starving higher education without squeezing Washington’s economic future.

• The state figures out how to fund the extension of Highway 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, and the construction of the cross-base highway from Frederickson to Interstate 5.

• Tacoma’s municipal unions join T.C. Broadnax’s effort to control city spending and preserve public services.

• Republicans start treating climate change as a scientific issue, not a partisan sledgehammer.

• After getting booted by the voters, former Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam fades into deserved obscurity.

• Afghans and Americans see unmistakable justice done for the appalling massacre of 16 Afghan villagers in March.

• Police solve the disappearance of Susan Powell, whose husband, Josh, murdered their two small boys and killed himself in February.
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Public unions have a choice: Save pay – or jobs

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

There’s no telling what kind of sacrifices Tacoma’s firefighters union may be offering as it privately negotiates with city administrators to preserve positions and public safety. The big thing is that they’re negotiating in the first place.

The Great Recession has not been kind to public unions. In the rising economic tide that preceded it, many of them had won very generous compensation from local and state officials they’d helped put in office.

Unions in the private sector should have it so good. Private-sector unions can’t vote for the people they face at the bargaining table, and the companies they work for can go bust if they can’t turn a profit. (See Hostess Brands Inc.)

Governments don’t face the discipline of the market, and they rarely go belly up: People can do without Twinkies, but they can’t do without police protection, sewers, water or streets.

The recession and its aftermath have slammed public unions from two directions: Governments have been hard-pressed to pay for those nice contracts without cannibalizing the services they provide their citizens. And taxpayers – many of whom have seen their incomes drop – have been annoyed to discover how much they are paying public employees in very hard times.

With revenue growth strangled, budget-writing has become a zero-sum game: Union compensation comes at the expense of city services, and vice versa. When the tradeoffs are made, no one walks away smiling.

In fact, the City of Tacoma would have been happy to settle for zero sum tradeoffs. After inheriting a fiscal disaster from his predecessor – and previous city councils – City Manager T.C. Broadnax had to close a $63 million shortfall when he developed Tacoma’s newly adopted biennial spending plan.
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Straight talk from T.C. Broadnax

Tacoma City Manager T.C. Broadnax doesn’t hang around much at our offices, but he came in today with a small retinue and the first installment of the take-no-prisoners budget he’s going to propose to the City Council.

He says he’s got to carve $63 million out of the $445 million it would take to keep the city on its present course of spending and services. That translates into a loss of 217 city positions, he said.

Our entire editorial board – all five of us – were in on the briefing. We all came away with pretty much the same

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