Letters to the Editor

Waste and fraud pollute state budget | Federal Way letters

In his Feb. 12 guest column (“Where can we find the waste?”), Andrew Villeneuve disagrees with 71 percent of poll respondents that the state budget could be balanced by eliminating waste and fraud.

He says that no one is able to give specifics of how this could be done.

Fortunately, in Washington state we have the Freedom Foundation, which regularly analyzes state spending and recommends ways to cut waste and balance the budget. Recently, the foundation proposed 105 specific ideas, with a summary titled “Top 10 ideas for balancing the budget, cutting waste and stimulating the economy without raising taxes.” Both documents can be found at www.myfreedomfoundation.org and searching for “Top 10 Ideas.” A few of these ideas are:

• Canceling automatic pay boosts for all state employees who are already paid significantly more than workers in the private sector.

• Letting the private sector do some jobs that government is doing.

• Getting money the state is owed at no cost by hiring a recovery audit firm to collect such money for a percentage of the collections.

All large bureaucracies, public or private, have significant waste and some fraud. Contrary to Villeneuve’s claim, it is not easy to eliminate that because it requires time and effort to analyze programs to determine if they are worth their cost. It requires determination to get rid of unproductive expenditures because the people getting that money want to go on getting it, even if their work isn’t worth it. For Mr. Villeneuve to claim that Washington state government is exempt from these realities is too naive to be taken seriously.

Sonja West, unincorporated King County

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