Opinion

Legislative armageddon in Olympia | Angie Vogt

There's a mighty wind blowing in town and his name is Tony Moore. Well, he's not so new, as he has served on the Federal Way School Board since 2008 and was recently voted in as president of the board. He recently threw his hat in the ring to run for District 30 state senator. We need Tony Moore in office for a variety of reasons.

Moore is just one of thousands across the nation and state answering the call to public service in the face of what seems like legislative armageddon in Olympia and D.C. The state media doesn't like to report this fact, but with Democrats in control for so long, Washington's budgetary situation looks like the ghost of California past. Our deficit spending and compulsive taxation trends are unsustainable. In fact, the state is cascading ever so steadily toward the same cliff California is clinging to. Same interest groups, same party in power and same runaway spending.

This was not an inevitable situation. Dino Rossi, a former candidate for governor, warned us that we were headed into a fiscal trap before the financial meltdown occurred. He saw it coming. Anybody who understands basic accounting could see it coming. We have a situation where entrenched interest groups (mostly state employee unions and environmental groups) have been dictating the state budget for far too long. Unions only recently started holding off their support of the Democrats. It only took bankrupting our state before they stopped demanding more. Now they have nowhere to go.

They've bled their primary legislative voice dry and they certainly will not run to the Republicans. Republicans have been poorly organized in the state and have had a difficult time putting up winning candidates. The mood is somber. I'm in awe of anybody who wants to run for office when things look so bad.

Our state budget, interestingly enough, is an odd hybrid of spending increases (a total spending increase of 6.1 percent), some spending cuts and a desperate looking array of tax increases, poorly constructed and with no coherent long-term vision for where we are going. On a national level, a recent Gallup poll indicated that 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes whatsoever. Little wonder that a week later, another poll suggested that half of Americans are satisfied with their tax levels. Could it be that half of Americans who are taking from the system are happy, and the other half who are shouldered with supplying the freeloaders are the unhappy half?

The reason voters get confused on whether our government is cutting spending or increasing spending is because our state has three budgets. So, while legislators are proudly boasting about their courageous and "drastic" cuts (from the general fund budget), they are ignoring the spending increases in one of the other budgets.

A report was recently released about the current "state of the state budgets" by Bob Williams of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a former auditor for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He warns that just about every state in the union is operating under an unsustainable budget, using budgetary gimmicks of propping up false estimates for revenue income to support overspending.

Since our 1997-1999 biennial budget, state spending has increased 75 percent while population (taking inflation into account) has increased 45 percent, according to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation's research.

Tony Moore is running against incumbent State Sen. Tracey Eide (D). We know Sen. Eide for her courageous and heroic battle against the scourge of our times: Cell phone use while driving. I know, I know. It's really a hero's journey. Foster children dying at the hands of state negligence? Almost 10 percent unemployment? $8 billion deficits? Education dollars disproportionately being diverted from the classroom to fund more bureaucracy? These hardly seem important next to the importance of controlling people's driving habits.

In either case, it's time for fresh air in the chambers of Olympia.

Moore's campaign kickoff is from 1-3 p.m. May 1 at The Commons mall. Republican celebrity of Washington state Dino Rossi is scheduled to speak. Come breathe some fresh air. Dare I say it, but it seems like it's time for some hope and change.

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