Apr 16, 2008

a freeway, a freeway, my COLA for a freeway

Dino Rossi's transportation plan is all over the news today, the candidate pushing for new projects to the tune of $15 billion dollars.
"The bottom line is we need these projects. We have no choice," Rossi said. "We have to do these projects ... or we'll be stepping on our own economic air hose in the future."

Rossi, who is running against Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire, proposed paying for the work in part by spending 40 percent of the state sales taxes on new and used vehicles for transportation projects — a total of $7.7 billion in 2007 dollars projected over the next 30 years.

He also would eliminate state sales taxes on transportation projects, thus lowering their cost.

That tax revenue currently goes to the state's general fund where it's spent on other programs. Rossi doesn't say how he'd make up that loss in revenue, but he says he would not raise taxes or cut programs supporting education, nursing homes and the developmentally disabled.
The opposition isn't buying the no-education-cuts angle. Debra Carnes, communication director for the Gregoire campaign, notes,
It looks like he’s back to proposing some of the same things he’s done before. Much of the revenue to fund his plan comes from the general fund, more specifically to the tune of $10 billion. That’s real money that looks like yet another attempt at suspending funding for COLAs and class size reduction.

In yesterday’s press conference, Robert Mak of KING 5 asked this question:
Q: Should teachers write off their COLA's?

A: We'll have to look at where we are at that point. I fixed the problem in 2003 and can do it again if necessary.
Apparently, his “fix” in 2003 was to suspend the COLAs. Overall, it’s a bad plan that isn’t good for Washington and may be even worse for educators.
If Carnes is right, is it worth it? Should teachers sacrifice their cost of living adjustment to keep gridlock's foot off the economic air hose?

1 comment:

Dr Pezz said...

I'm going to say "no" on this one. In a general sense, I truly believe we must pay for spending increases. If we wish to pay for more (i.e. roads, COLAs, etc.), then we have to pay more and that may mean raising taxes.

It's not a term of the devil, this raising taxes; it's a term of maturity, a term of responsibility.

Regardless, Rossi's plan simply speaks to what his base desires: no new taxes and services without sacrifice.