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Groups respond to revenue forecast with rally against cuts to state programs

Post by Katie Schmidt on March 17, 2011 at 2:14 pm with 51 Comments »
March 17, 2011 2:59 pm
PETER HALEY/The News Tribune

In response to today’s revenue forecast, which estimates the state’s budget shortfall for the next two years will be about $5.3 billion, about 1,000 teachers, health care workers students and others crowded onto the Capitol steps, calling for lawmakers to end tax exemptions rather than cutting education and social programs.

The rally, organized by a group called Our Economic Future Coalition, is one of several that have taken place in Olympia so far this session advocating tax increases rather than cuts in the biennial budget, though state lawmakers say that approach would be very difficult politically.

Collin Jergens, a spokesman for to event’s organizers said the purpose of the rally was to remind lawmakers that they have a choice between adding taxes and cutting social services.

“The new revenue forecast just underscores the need for the Legislature to take a balanced approach,” he said.

So far this session several bills have been introduced that would remove some tax exemptions including House Bill 1847 and Senate Bill 5816, both of which would add taxes to coal, private jets and plastic surgery in Washington and use the money to pay for a state-subsidized health insurance program for low-income state residents.

Doing so could bring in about $120 million per year, according to the bills’ fiscal notes.

Ideas like this could be hard to get through the Legislature, though, because in November voters approved Initiative 1053, which requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes.

Rep. Sam Hunt, an Olympia Democrat who came to the rally, said adding taxes to fund state programs would be a big political challenge.

“I get all these emails saying, ‘keep funding my program, keep funding my program,’” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult.”

Jergens said if legislators don’t pass anything to end tax exemptions this session, the coalition would push for a ballot measure to do so in the fall, though he thought it made sense for lawmakers to support bills to raise certain taxes now.

“I can’t understand why two-thirds wouldn’t support closing tax exemptions for Wall Street banks and private jets,” he said.

Participants in the rally represented a diverse collection of groups including the American Federation of Teachers, the Washington Association of Churches and the Service Employees International Union.

Ron Turner, a Tacoma resident and member of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters said he was there in support of workers in Wisconsin, given a recent law passed there that takes collective bargaining rights away from most public-sector employees.

He said he wanted state lawmakers to protect collective bargaining and pay attention to corporate practices in the state as they look for ways to balance the budget.

Another popular topic at the rally was increasing taxes on banks, a proposal homecare worker Judy Harris of Port Orchard said she supported.

“They keep cutting and keep cutting the seniors and the people with disabilities and our children’s education,” Harris said. “I’m tired of it.”

Leave a comment Comments → 51
  1. Over 1.000 teachers showed up, on a school day, to protest, huh? I suppose all of them were ‘ill’, so they took paid sick-leave from their paid employment of supposedly teaching our state’s students. If anyone’s looking for a way to reduce the payroll by eliminating non-productive teachers, the ‘teachers’ attending this political rally are a good place to start the list. Just check for those that turn in ‘doctor’s notes’ when they report back to work with their respective schools’ principals.

  2. Soundlife says:

    We need a governor with the courage to fire all of these morons.
    The only benefit to the picture is that Washington parents can see how truely ignorant the teachers of their children have become, and hopefully arrange to get them into private schools.
    Our government has been mismanaged into bankruptcy, has become a huge emaciated sow, and now has these worthless leeches on society sucklying at its dying teats trying to get more for themselves.
    Taxpayers have had enough!!!!
    John Kennedy once said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
    Today’s answer: The wagon can only carry the truely needy; the rest of you need to get out and help push!

  3. Proconsul8 says:

    Take the blinders off and truly look around you. Is it really any surprise that the state budget shortfall continues when you see what’s happening all around the country and the world? This problem is GLOBAL because our economy and communications are GLOBAL. And pandering politicians in the “free” societies of the West gave in to the special interests in exchange for reelection, power, and wealth. Everyone will have an ox gored in this situation. The only solution is the one nobody wants – personal responsibility, government accountability, willingness to make hard decisions, spending only on essentials, willingness to work hard, and accept no bailouts from government.

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    Where the heck is this Obama Care that is supposed to cover everyone???? Yer paying for it!

  5. BlaineCGarver says:

    They are going to spend 100,000 plus to figure out McNeil Island ownership…surely, there is someone in the AG’s office that can make heads or tails out of a title search??? Dang, I have no respect for Washington Gooberment….

  6. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    The democrats spent themselves into the mess. Now their spoiled and soiled children will throw them under the bus. Democrats will try to blame the republicans but it won’t work this time.

    How can this many teachers show up on a work day??? Called in sick again. Taking the lead from the Wisconsin teachers. Here is how you fix this. PRIVATIZE everything. Fire them all and let private industry hire them as non-union. The state will save billions.

  7. You can bet there weren’t poor people at this rally. The truly needy don’t have time for this crap. They’re to busy trying to stay alive. These people always use the poor as a crutch for their own political gain. When in fact they hate the poor. There isn’t a person at this rally that has missed a meal, they all have or could have cable TV, cell phones, and high speed internet. They all have cars and homes. Not a one of them live out a shopping cart.

  8. Pigs at the trough, worried about their next meal. Eat the pig farmer. Makes sense to me.

  9. surveyor1 says:


    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  10. letsworkitout says:

    I believe it said “about 1,000 teachers, health care workers students and others.” That is a 1000 total. Interesting that people would be so selective in what they read. Almost as if they had a previous bias and wanted to spout it again.

  11. Alison7613 says:

    I am not sure why we always blame teachers when there is a crisis. What are teacher supposed to be? Everything? Mom, Dad, Social Worker, Psychiatrist, A source of meals, etc.

    In this climate, I would suggest teachers collectively run away and go get a high tech degree since fifty percent of this nation’s high tech jobs are being filled by foreign workers. The pay is better and it takes the blame off your back.

  12. hortonpeak says:

    Pathetic at both ends.

  13. LeavingSoon says:

    All I hear from state workers is how we have to save their jobs. The era of serving the public ended a long time ago. We used to fight for services we provide but now the work force is only concerned about paying the bills because they are living above their means.

    The lawmakers have played their hand to increase taxes and continue spending beyond their means. Taxes are coming before the leaches leave Olympia.

  14. GHTaxPayer says:

    The spendaholic Democrats chickens have come home to roost.

    Remember when Dino Rossi said that Gregoire’s irresponsible budget spending would give us AT LEAST a $3 Billion shortfall ? And Gregoire responded that the budget shortfall would be less than $400 Million ?

    Clearly, Christine Gregoire is a BOLD-FACED liar. Just like Obama and the rest of the Democrats.

  15. wildbillinoly says:

    Time for Scott Walker to visit Washington!

  16. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Welcome to socialist democrat rule of both Washingtons!!! The State is finally running out of other peoples money! Elections do have consequesnces! Cut social programs to cover only the physically and mentally disabled. When you have a State legislature consisting of idiots who openly state that they support drivers licenses for illegal residents, how would you expect them to support what is good for the State’s economy??!!

    Wake up ignorant electorate – you have been duped for far too long – get the open-border socialist democrats out of government!!!

  17. steward252 says:

    i hate to burst the conservative bubble but cutting high income and corporate taxes does nothing for the real economy as a hole. Improvements in American life would not have happened without the pioneering ideas of early progressives. The shift from conservatism toward progressivism helped to structure our society in far more humane and effective ways and gave real meaning to our founding principles of liberty, equality, and opportunity. the attack on public sector unions is merely a way to divide and conquer. progressive economics is proven to be in the interest of the majority of the population, there is no real argument to be made, you conservatives can continue to repeat unsubstantiated opinion, but almost all supply side economic arguments have been dis proven.

  18. guiltybystander says:

    One thousand people? In other words, in a state with 6.6 million people, the equivalent of the entire population of Twisp showed up for this rally? Gee, I know I’M impressed.

    And with a projected two-year, $5,100,000,000 shortfall coming up, the money to keep all these programs alive is going to come from…?

  19. steward252 says:

    it is a misconception that we are broke, corporate profits are at unprecedented levels it is income inequality that is at issue here, make all the cuts you want and we will eventually have to make more, that my friends is fact.

    tax pressure on excessive executive compensation has faded over the past quarter-century. The top marginal
    tax rate dipped, at one point, to 28 percent and currently sits at 35 percent. High pay now pays, even after taxes.
    Compensation for top executives in the United States, consequently, has soared, from 30 to 40 times average
    worker pay a generation ago to over 400 times average worker compensation today

  20. Tough beans people. Somethings got to give some where. I’m certainly not willing to continue to support welfare moms with 13 kids and cut back on fire and police. sorry. and don’t blame it on the Dems people. The conservatives got a hand in too. Where’s Obama’s health care. On the cutting room floor because of the republicans. get a grip y’all. It’s tough times for everybody.
    Oh, and i wonder if churches had to pay taxes like the rest of us if that would help things little bit. I’m thinking it would. Every little bit.

  21. steward252 says:

    Across the country, right-wing legislators continue their attack on labor unions, claiming that they are saving their states money. Yet in waging these anti-labor campaigns, these politicians are ignoring one very simple fact: unions were a major force in building and sustaining the great American middle class, and as they declined, so has the middle class. As CAP’s Karla Waters and David Madland showed in a report they first published this past January, as union membership has steadily declined since 1967, so too has the middle class’s share of national income, as the super-rich have taken a larger share of national income than any time since the 1920s:

  22. steward252 says:

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable net- work of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agita- tor” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

    Martin Luther King Jr.

  23. The poor, elderly and disabled will lose. The majority of the commentators here will have no sympathy.

  24. Why did the Nazis have no sympathy for the disabled? They were coping with a depression and going into a war.

  25. crusader says:

    Scott Walker
    Chris Christie
    Chris Gregoire

    What leader’s state will have a balanced budget first?

  26. Soundlife says:

    Ok, I give. The loonies win.
    Let’s just keep spending money until the checks start bouncing.
    It will be easy to sort it all out then…
    You can not argue with the brain-dead who refuse to even recognise the existence of the problem in the first place.
    Keep the gub’mint checks a’comin’ till obama’s stash dries up…

  27. steward252 says:

    i have been called both a communist and a fascist, first i would suggest a course in political science, second i would like to ask what did Mussolini’s Italy, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s china and Hitler,s Germany have in common?

    ANSWER They all ban union activity.

  28. Useful idiots.

  29. steward252 says:


    history and fact back my position, it is you who fail to recognize the problem. supply side economics is failed political policy, not sound economics. We did not emerge form the great depression by means of corporate tax breaks, and reducing high income taxes, we built the greatest middle class in the history of the world through progressive politics and sound economics these sir are facts not pure rhetoric.

  30. @steward252:

    When people complain as loud and as long as you are doing tonight, it raises a red flag. You are becoming quite unbelievable and trustworthy.

  31. steward252 says:

    The Creation of a Corporate State

    Mussolini completed the building-up of the Corporate state.

    In 1938, the Fascist Grand Council abolished the Parliament, and set up in its place an Assembly of Corporations which consisted of representatives from twenty-two industrial and professional corporations. In other words, the parliamentary system in Italy came to an end. In 1939

    can anyone say Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

  32. steward252 says:

    I have no intention of continuing to allow the conservative lie to continue unchecked. the only thing to be learned from the teabaggers is their relentless approach to politics.

  33. progressivesrock says:

    To steward252

    Sadly, you’re trying to educate people that don’t want to learn, as a matter of fact they hate knowledge altogether. They don’t even realize that if we as a country decided to privatize all k-12 education they could not afford to send their kids to school either. It would be all about money not educating children.

    But I got to hand it to those that have turned middle classers against themselves. You got to be pretty smart to convince a good portion of the population that teachers with there part time jobs on the side, so they can pay back their student loans are bankrupting America, but gazillionaires on Wall Street should be getting their feet kissed by us lowly workers. How DARE we want Wall St. to pay taxes.

    And the way kids are today, people should be kissing teachers feet. I know I would get fired before a week was up if I was in a classroom, because I was raised by a 3-war veteran, and you don’t talk back to elders, or else…

  34. geeterpontiac says:

    Sorry steward252,

    History is not on your side and never has been.

    In reality, WWII provided the way out of the depression that FDR’s “progressive” polices had prolonged. And, even with the war, when it ended, the tax rate and debt was minimal in comparison to today.

    The further the country has gone toward the left (progressive) the worse things have gotten. If you are over 50 years old you should be able to recognize the fact that the country is much more liberal today than it was in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, etc. And the further we have gone, the worse it has gotten. Now, it’s time to pay the piper.

    Also, the corporate take-over of Italy and Germany you envision never occurred. In fact, it was exactly the opposite. The Nazi’s and the Fascist’s formed councils for the purpose of making corporations and businesses subservient to the state. That’s what those councils were for. For anyone to seriously believe that German corporations told the Nazi’s (Hitler) how to run the country, well, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Interestingly enough, if you have followed our president’s actions in his first 24 months in office, you might have noticed a striking parallel as the government took over the running of GM, Chrysler, etc, and dictated how American businesses can and will do business. Am I saying Obama is a Nazi or Fascist? Nope, not at all. I am simply pointing out similar approaches and the probability the approach will make the problems we face worse.

    The country is broke financially. Piling more taxes and burdens on the public is the wrong way to go. If we are ever to dig our way out of this mess, everyone is going to have to make due on less and try to work together. Given the identify politics in vogue today, it is questionable (at least in my mind) whether it’s going to happen

  35. steward252 says:

    i find it simply amazing that you can try to blame a financial crisis caused by private sector greed and corruption on teachers. to claim the public sector has been on the “gravy train” with no data to back it up. to claim all must sacrifice, without any sacrifice from those who can most afford it, those who have received all of the gains of the past 30 years, and they think no one will notice. they believe if you yell loud enough and long enough facts will not count. what dismays me the most is in a large part they are right they have dominated the discussion for 30 years. the time to stand up is now, we must stand for our core values of equality and opportunity, We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

  36. steward252 says:


    nice re-write of history

    republicans have controlled the white house 20 of 28 years from 1980 to 2008. furthermore Clinton was a corperate democrat.

    in 1970 workers were compensated 52% of corporate profits today it is less than 30% management takes 61 cents of every dollar of capitol make in the country.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt. aggressive national actions to repair and transform our society and government in the wake of the Great Depression set the course for the mid century liberalism of Harry Truman, the New Frontier of John Kennedy, and the great civil rights advances under Lyndon Johnson.

    Excessive compensation for corporate executives first emerged as a national concern in the early 1980s, about the
    same time that deep cuts in the top marginal federal income tax rate took effect. Until then, high top-bracket
    federal income tax rates — 91 percent on income over $400,000 until 1964, then 70 percent on income over
    $200,000 until 1981 — helped keep what might be called a “cultural cap” on CEO pay. Corporate boards could
    offer million-dollar pay packages, but what would be the point? The bulk of any pay over the top-bracket income
    floor would simply be taxed away.

    as for your opinions of fascism you show your ignorance my statements come directly from historical text actual political actions by fascist leaders not my opinion of fascism, you should try it some time.

  37. geeterpontiac says:

    “Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.”

    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

    – From Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

    Sorry steward252, it appears you didn’t get an education but an indoctrination. Enjoy the looking glass you are you are using.
    Enough said.

  38. steward252 says:


    typical you have no real arguable fact, so you simply try to claim superiority.

    go ahead try to challenge my facts i actually study history, more precisely economic history. if anyone would like a real shocker read the book “other peoples money” published in 1907 conservatives had the same failed economic stick even then.

    this is America you can believe what you want, but that does not change history or fact.

  39. gotcha123 says:

    Wake up Washington. Do you not have eyes and common sense? If you keep putting these Progressive Democrats in office don’t bother looking for any end to the mess you are in. In the mean time I will do everything in my power to shut off the money supply to the state and the Public Unions.

  40. gotcha123 says:

    Union leadership….I just hope those fools screaming out there keep paying their dues to me.

  41. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Geeter – try doing a little research on the Carter & progressive/sociaist democrat plans for everyone owning their own home! The corrupt manipulation of the lending and financial markets by the progressives/socialists in the U.S. Congress created the financial mess we find ourselves in and printing more money to feed the socilaist agenda within our country is not going to improve conditions for the middle class! The imbalance within the economy has been created by the growing imbalance of overpaid government versus the private sector economy!! Moving our industrial base overseas and the political socialist agenda in the USA will not improve the middle class and that will not measurably change the economy until those holding progressive/soialist ideas are removed from power!!

  42. Soundlife says:

    How blessed they the truely ignorant must feel.
    Reagon’s tax cuts more than doubled the income of the federal government as financial activity increased.
    It was the increased spending by the Democratic-dominated Congress that gave us the unweildy deficits.
    I recommend that you take a few courses in economics, then you might understand a few basic principles.
    Lenin’s school that most of the American Left adhere to failed miserably in Cuba, the USSR and Eastern Europe…

  43. steward252 says:

    okay wing nuts the republicans have been in power for 30 years you cannot claim the Carter screwed up the country in 4 years over 30 years ago especially when republicans controlled two branches of government.

    look go ahead dispute the facts, here is one you can play with, the middle class held its greatest percentage of the economy in 1967 this was also the highest level of union membership, if you graph this on a chart it is impossible not to see the linkage


  44. steward252 says:


    also rased middle class taxes by the largest amount in history after he “cut taxes”

    he also raised the deficit by 189% the worst physical record since the great depression.

    it is somewhat true that cutting or the appearance of cutting taxes creates a short term increase in the economy, because the economy is unfortunately based on perception if you make people feel good about the economy they tend to spend. the problem is this is short term at best. The same thing can be said about de- or re-regulation the problem is in the long term you have to deal with the policy, and the good feeling wares off.

  45. steward252 says:

    lets the very least be honest about the players in the last 30 years democrats controlled the executive branch 10 years they controlled the executive and legislative branch a poultry 4 years and all three branches of government 0 years that’s right the democrats have not had control of all three branches in over 30 years, to go even further we had an ultra conservative in charge of monetary policy for 20 years up to 2006.

    so some one tell me how could democrats be responsible for what has happened to the economy over the last 30 years

  46. Proconsul8 says:

    Nice deflection steward252. Change the argument from progressive vs. conservative to Democrat vs. Republican. The reality is that neither party has had a total lock on the left or right side of the political spectrum. Couple that with rampant pandering to interest groups with deep pockets, aided by lax campaign finance oversight, and you end up with career congressmen and senators beholden to a small “coalition” of financiers. The interest of the middle class as a whole has been ignored by both parties, as the back room deals are made deciding which “victim” to select for “support” or “blame”. And throwing terms like fascism, naziism, communism around just inflames the emotions without dealing with the results of bad politics by all.

  47. steward252 – what are the three branches of government?

  48. progressivesrock says:

    I’m not steward252, but the three branches of government are legislature, judicial, and executive.

  49. steward252 says:

    thanks progressivesrock

    i was speaking of the executive legislative (both houses) and judicial we have had a conservative leaning supreme court for my entire life time, you might discount this as a movement to the right or left but over the last 30 years the courts rulings have pushed the political arena to the right, changes in established search and seizure, miranda rights, corporate citizenship, alone with the election of GW, and the conservatives looking to overturn the health care bill.

    no deflection Proconsul8

    i simply used the party names we dont elect progressives or conservatives, over the last 30 or so years we have elected very very few true progressives of any nature, it is ideologue republicans, and pragmatic democrats. there are very few moderate republicans, when compared to moderate democrats, although the point was to disprove the notion that the nation has been moving to the left and becoming more progressive leaving them to blame for a failed economic strategy, this is a provably false statement, this can be done in many ways, the easiest was to simply point out who has been in charge. I would be more than happy to examine actual policy, i however find this difficult because in my experience conservatives have a somewhat skewed relationship with the truth, and little interest in discussing policy in any honest manner.

  50. truthbusterguy says:

    Liberals posting here tonight must have been dropped on their heads as small children. For the life of me I will never understand your thought processes.

    Here is the only fact you need and there is evidence supporting this ALL OVER THE WORLD. The socialist experiment aways fails because they eventually run our of OTHER people’s money.

  51. steward252 says:

    Plutocracies die no matter what you call their form of government, it is being controlled by a rich minority that always spells doom for a country uncontrolled capitalism is as corrupting as communism or fascism or and other ism you like.

    the fact is democratic socialism has a long standing record of success it is through a mixed economy that the people thrive .

    sorry truthbusterguy

    you guys always talk love to see any backup you have on your position the a pure market economy elevates the entire economy,

    here is the thing, you will not find any. the conservative argument is that of the ideolog or a fanatic, truth and fact have no place only ideology, it is like a scientist who will not give up on a theory even after it has been disproved, he looses any respect as a scientist.

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