The Washington state Legislature took a page from the dysfunctional U.S. Congress playbook in forcing state agencies to prepare for shutdown because of the failure to pass a budget until the last minute.
The cost of two additional legislative sessions and the forced shutdown preparation by state agencies cost the taxpayer additional expenses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In the end, the budget was $2 billion short of funding a reduction in class size as required by the passage of Initiative 1351. Legislature backsliding on class size reduction is foregone conclusion given the failure to approve additional sources of revenue by a tax on carbon or a tax on capital. Representative Haler’s response to the passage of Initiative 1351 was to dismiss the initiative as a “want.”
The French economist Thomas Piketty, in his best seller “Capital in the Twenty First Century,” found that wealth inequality was the natural result of free market policies. We are approaching levels of inequality that haven’t seen been since the Gilded Age.
The implications drawn by Mr. Piketty are that the state legislature should raise the taxes on the wealthy to fund Initiative 1351.