Do you have the uncomfortable feeling that government is seizing more control of your life? In 2011, 'Cost of Government Day' fell on August 18, making us the 7th-most-burdened state, while neighboring Idaho fell to the 36th-worst-burdened state, attracting many of our small businesses.
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That means that the money you made from January 1 to August 18 was taken by the government, through various forms of taxation, fees, regulation, and waste. This was a full month longer than in 2008, so if you've been feeling the pinch, you're not imagining things. While the majority party continues to claim that they have cut to the bone, the truth is that in the 2009 legislative session, Olympia increased our taxes and fees by $590,000,000 (590 million) for the next two years, and in the 2010 legislative session, the majority voted to raise taxes yet another $800 million on top of that. Even in 2011-2012, when the rest of us have given up merely 'tightening our belts' and have switched to a smaller belt size altogether, our legislature has increased their budget by another 5.71% to a grand total of 74.65 Billion, including $71 million in new fees. The 4,000 new regulations added by our Legislature in the last three years make it even more difficult for our small businesses to stay open. (You can keep track of these things yourself on fiscal.wa.gov.)
This is why we are struggling to pay our bills, businesses are closing, and people are losing their jobs. Our elected officials are sucking us dry.
This increase in cost is far higher than inflation and population growth. And now they want to increase it even more. Speaker of the House Frank Chopp said in a newsletter recently, about the King County Superior Court judge overturning the will of Washington voters and ruling the 2/3rd majority requirement for tax increases unconstitutional, "With any luck, the case could be before the state Supreme Court next fall -- and we could finally be free to have real discussions about revenue as early as the 2013 session". Revenue? We know what that means: more taxes and fees. The real message: Ignore the will of the people, who have voted multiple times that we want 2/3 of the Legislature to agree before raising taxes. Chopp has forgotten that 'all political power is inherent in the people,' (State Constitution) and that we elect representatives to represent us...not impose their will on us.
It is time for Citizen Legislators to stand up and say, loudly and firmly, "Enough!" From 2004 to 2008, Olympia saw an increase of 20% in revenue (your money); but in the same four years, Olympia increased their spending by 32%! We don't run our household budgets that way; we know it's a recipe for disaster. How is it that Olympia can find money for new touch-screen kiosks at a museum...but then cut funding to teachers and librarians? How is it that the majority party can vote to spend enormous amounts of money for more control of land, but cut Medicaid reimbursement funding for in-home senior care? This mismanagement must come to an end. It requires resolve, real-world private-sector experience creating wealth--not transferring it, and a solid understanding of the proper role of government.
We must return to a Priorities of Government model (POGs). Set aside 2% of the projected revenue, for a rainy-day fund; look at the tasks under State Government's jurisdiction, according to our State Constitution (ten areas: Education, Transportation, etc.) and give each area its slice of the rest of the financial pie. Within each area, officials need to ask themselves, "Can any of this be done equally or better by the private sector?" After all, Government's job is simply to do that which cannot be done better or more efficiently by private citizens or enterprise. Otherwise there is no moral justification for confiscating someone's money.