COURTESY OF SKAGIT DEMOCRATS
A MESSAGE FROM WASHINGTON STATE DEMOCRATS CHAIR TINA PODLODOWSKI
As a mom of three, I know what every parent knows - it's virtually impossible to negotiate with preschoolers. As much as we may love them, and care about them, they don't respond well to reason and they want what they want for themselves. Period. They are not necessarily ever thinking responsibly or in consideration of the greater good, or even of what might also be good for the kid standing right next to them. And, then, of course, we've all seen the meltdowns when they don't get their way.
Usually they grow out of it - thank goodness. But, sometimes, it just sucks to be a grown-up, be responsible, and do the right thing.I was thinking about this last night, as the state legislature was passing its budget - and narrowly averting a disastrous and irresponsible government shutdown. Because we have a divided legislature, with a Democratic House and a Republican Senate, the final budget product would by nature have to be a compromise. And like most compromises, there are some things that are great, and some that are not so great.
I want to thank our Democratic budget negotiators and legislators for standing up for our Democratic values with the victories they got in the final budget deal. This was an incredibly difficult task, and with the GOP budget negotiators unwilling to come to the table again, and again, and again, I'm not quite sure how they pulled this off. But I'm incredibly grateful. Thank you to negotiators Timm Ormsby, June Robinson, Kris Lytton, Pat Sullivan, Kevin Ranker, Christine Rolfes, Andy Billig, and everyone in the Democratic House and Senate Caucuses, as well as Governor Inslee for signing the budget bill.
This budget makes progress toward fulfilling the "McCleary Mandate" from the state Supreme Court to strengthen our K-12 schools. It adds $7.3 billion to K-12 education over four years. Of that, $1.8 billion is spent in the 2017-19 budget. Another $464 million is raised through the expansion of online sales-tax collections, and the elimination of tax breaks on bottled water and oil refineries.
State workers finally receive a pay raise - after years of none, or cuts. Our mental-health system will be able to add community-crisis centers. Early learning education is expanded, as well as oversight and coordination of foster care and child welfare programs. Temporary Aid for Needy Families, civil legal-aid services, and homelessness and housing services are all boosted.
Democrats negotiated and passed a landmark statewide paid family leave law, one of the strongest and most progressive family leave policies in the country, so that workers have time to take care of their families and themselves without going broke. We have progress on establishing carbon caps on greenhouse-gas emissions coming from certain businesses, and, importantly, monies to update training for law-enforcement officers on using less-than-lethal force. Plus so much more.
But despite the best efforts of our Democratic legislators, Republicans were able to force elements of their regressive tax plan into the final budget. In many areas of the state - some Republican, but mostly Democratic - Republicans insisted on raising regressive property taxes on the working class, instead of reforming our tax code and asking the rich or giant corporations to pay more.
GOP Senators refused for months to even engage in budget negotiations with Democrats, and brought us to the brink of a government shutdown simply in defense of wealthiest 1%. And here are the three guys leading that charge - Republican Senate negotiators Sen. Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, Sen. John Braun of Centralia, and Sen. Dino Rossi of Sammamish, have all made it their top priority to defend the rich and the big corporations that fund GOP political campaigns. Their backwards priorities are wrong for all Washingtonians, and we must get them out of power.
We've been asking Democrats for months to contact their legislators to talk about the importance of the budget - if you live in the district of one of these three, make sure your senator knows just how unhappy you are with them.
Isn't it about time to give these three a bit of a "time out" on being able to hold budget negotiations hostage? I know exactly the three Democratic women for the job - moms all - and they need your help today:
- Manka Dhingra - 45th LD - http://www.electmanka.com/- Manka is a prosecuting attorney in King County, an award-winning PTSA mom, and an advocate for immigrants who started a landmark anti-domestic violence nonprofit group. She is committed to fully funding schools, improving transportation options and cutting traffic, and creating an economy that works for everyone. She's running to take Dino Rossi's seat - let's make sure she does!
- Michelle Rylands - 31st LD - http://www.michellerylands.com/- Michelle is a PTA President, a veteran, and a union member who works in law enforcement to keep us safe. She's running to fully fund education, invest in job creation, and protecting health care - especially in rural areas like the 31st LD in South King County and Pierce County. She's running to retire GOP Senator Phil Fortunato - one of the most extreme Tea Party members of the entire legislature.
- Karen Hardy - 7th LD - https://www.karenforsenate.com/- Karen is the Head Wrangler for the Rocking K Ranch - she's a country girl who knows the importance of jobs and an economy that works for everyone. She'll make sure that people in rural areas and Eastern Washington don't get left behind. Karen is standing tall to give GOP Senator Shelly Short a much-needed vacation. Did you know that Shelly raises about $110K of her election funding from PACS, but only $2K from real people? We need Karen!
With your help, we get these Democrat women in charge of retaking our state Senate back for the working people of Washington, and make both the revenue and expenditure side of the budget equation fair, caring, and equitable. Because Washingtonians shouldn't have to worry about government shutdowns and losing their family homes to property tax hikes.
Let's keep up the fight - and thank you for all you do in your community, and around our state. On this 4th of July weekend, take a moment to read the words that started it all for our United States, and enjoy the time with family and friends.
Chair, Washington State Democrats