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April 22, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2009 * A5 GUEST COLUMN BY SEN. CHERYL PFLUG for this rainy day? o matter what else you hear about the pro- posed 2009-2011 state budget, remember this: The state still forecasts revenues will exceed those of the 2007-2009 biennium, not includ- ing the nearly $3 billion in federal stimulus money coming our way. How can that be, you ask? We are confrohted daily with mes- sages about the devastation to K- 12 education, eliminating space for 10,000 students in our colleges and universities, loss of health cov- erage for the poor and the "budget crisis." Is that exaggeration? Well, maybe a little -- but there are def- initely some big cuts under consid- eration. The $9 billion deficit With the release of the Senate and House budget proposals, it became clear that many politi- cians define "deficit" as the gap between what they want to spend and the money available. Until the economy improves, we just can't afford all those "good ideas." Frankly, some of those ideas aren't all that good -- in any econ- omy. Over the past four years, the state budget ballooned a whopping 33 percent and the rate of spend- it's all about pdorltles. I'm sure you will share my frus- tration over some of the cuts being considered, since that same budg- et actually proposes to increase salaries and benefits for certain state employees. Illegal aliens would still get taxpayer-supported health care while many young adults who are citizens or here legally remain unable to buy affordable health insurance. We'll also see cuts to K-12 education, nursing homes, services to the developmentally disabled and mentally ill, and hospital pay- ments. One predictable cut was funding for the state auditor's perform- ance audits of public agencies. These audits were mandated and permanently funded when Washington citizens passed Initiative 900. Our state auditor has used them to expose waste and recommend reforms to save hundreds of millions of dollars. Now, more than ever, we should place a high value on perform- ance accountability and reform. Yet the more-government crowd jumped at the excuse to remove this thorn from its side. The poison pill If you think the pain of layoffs, a depressed economy and the suffer- ing growth exceeded the rate of ing of our most vulnerable is too revenues by more than two and a horrible, you are responding half times. To accomplish this, leg- islators spent what should have been viewed as one-time money to support ongoing programs. That is like spending your life savings on the down payment for a yacht -- with no idea how to pay back the rest of the loan. Washington's leaders made down payments on a lot of luxury programs. Now, they must not only suspend those programs, but they're scrambling to fund desper- ately needed safety-net services as more citizens find themselves in need of temporary assistance. Wouldn't it be nice if the money that went to those ,down pay- ments" had been set aside instead exactly the way the big spenders hope you will. Democrats are maneuvering to offer you the opportunity to "buy back" state services via a tax increase. In fact, recently some of you called to report receiving a tele- phone call asking if you would sup- port a possible temporary four- tenths of a percent sales tax increase -- and if you were likely to vote. I hope you answered clearly, "I can't afford a tax increase!" and "You bet I'll vote!" Beach Sen. Cheryl Pflug at 360-786-7608 or pflug.chergl@leg.wa.gov. Comment on this op-ed at www.issaquahpress, com. FROM PAGE A4 tice system? We have prisons swollen to over their maximum capacity and still we haven't seen the connection between be- ing the No. I jailer on the planet and a lack of funds for education and social services. We have "three-strikers" serving life sen- tences for no-injury, no-weapons crimes. We are spending some $32,000 per year per prisoner to keep these people incarcerated. And when they reach age 55, the amount triples. Our priorities seem rather warped. With the economy in turmoil and tax dollars in de- mand, it would seem that such a waste is an injustice to the tax- payer as well as to some incar- cerated people who have been spending life behind bars for low-level crimes. Scott Spansail Seattle OUR Traffic cameras for YOUR commute... 1-90 at SR 900 South on 405@ Sunset Bivd, I-5 at Mercer Street SR 202@ E. Lake Sammarnish Parkway 1-90 at 1405 SR-520 at east end of [vergreen Bridge 1-90 at Sn0qualrnie Pass: Denny Creek, Hyak, East0n Ready for viewing when you are ready to go! ~ISSAQUAI:I ,,PRgSS.com SSB 5042, which passed the House 97-0, provides small businesses with waivers from penalties for the failure to properly collect, post or retain data or records in accordance with state regulations. It previously passed the Senate 46-0, and is now before the Senate for concurrence with House amendments that limit the waiver to certain small businesses, including those that provide care to vulnerable adults or children. 5th District - Rep. Glenn Anderson - R-Fall City - Y 5th District - Rep. Jay Rodne - R-North Bend - Y 41st District - Rep. Judy Clibborn - D-Mercer Island - Y 41st District - Rep. Marci Maxwell - ;D-Renton - Y ESHB 1033, which passed the Senate 29-18, requires that lead wheel weights be replaced with an environmentally safe alternative on all vehicles in Washington after Jan. 1, 2011. It was amended by the Senate to provide nonsubstantive and techni- cal corrections. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and ESHB 1033 will be delivered to the governor for signature. 5th District - Sen. Cheryl Pflug - R-Maple Valley - Y 41st District - Sen. D- Mercer Island - Y Fred Jarrett - F.2SSB 5688, which passed the House 62-35, declares that state reg- istered domestic partners shall be treated the same as married spouses. It previously passed the Senate 30- 18 and will be delivered to the gover- nor for signature. 5th District - Rep. Glenn Anderson - R-Fall City - N 5th District- Rep. Jay Rodne - R-North Bend - N 41st District - Rep. Judy Clibborn - D-Mercer Island - Y 41st District - Rep. Marci Maxwell - D-Renton - Y E2SSB 5735, which previously passed the Senate 29-19, was amended by the House to reaffirm the state's desire to pursue and partici- pate in the creation of a regional and federal greenhouse gas reduction pro- gram. It passed the House 59-37 and will be returned to the Senate for fur- ther consideration, 5th District - Rep. Glenn Anderson - R-Fall City - Y 5th District - Rep. Jay Rodne - R-North Bend - N 41st District - Rep. Judy Clibborn - D-Mercer Island -Y 41st District - Rep. Marci Maxwell - D-Renton - Y 5HB 1517, which previously passed the House 53-43 was amended by the Senate to allow the restoration of voting rights when a person convicted of a felony is no longer.under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. It passed the Senate 29- 19 and will be resubmitted to the House for further consideration. 5th District - Sen. Cheryl Pflug, (R-Maple Valley) - N 41st District - Sen. Fred Jarrett, (D-Mercer Island) - Y SHB 1329, which previously passed the House 65-31, was amended by the Senate and passed 46-2. The amendments would allow a childcare center to opt-in to collective bargain- ing but does not require participation as was required in the previous ver- sion of the bill. It will be returned to the House for further consideration of the Senate amendments. 5th District - Sen. Cheryl Pflug - R-Maple Valley - Y 41st District - Sen. Fred Jarrett - D- Mercer Island -Y ESHB 2261 passed the Senate 26- 23: ESHB 2261 as amended by the Senate redefines the Program of Basic Education, and the funding to support it, and provides that the pro- grams will be fully implemented by 2018. ESHB 2261 also provides a new pupil transportation funding for- mula which will take effect and be phased-in beginning in 2013-14 along with many other technical changes to the basic education sys- tem. The bill, which previously passed the House 71-26, will be returned to the House for further consideration. 5th District - Sen. Cheryl Pflug - R-Maple Valley - N 41st District - Sen. Fred Jarrett - D- Mercer Island -Y SB 5599 would allow for Washington's electoral votes to be awarded to the presidential candidate that receives the most popular vote in the country as a whole. It passed the Senate 28-21 and the House 52-42 and will be delivered to the governor for signature. 5th District - Rep. Glenn Anderson - R-Fall City- N 5th District - Rep. Jay Rodne - R-North Bend - N 41st District - Rep. Judy Clibborn - D-Mercer Island - E 41st District - Rep. Marci Maxwell - D-Renton -Y SB 5976, which previously passed the Senate 36-11, removes the sun- set provision for the tire replacement fee making the fee permanent. It passed the House 57-40 and is before the governor for signature. 5th District - Rep. Glenn Anderson - R-Fall City- N 5th District - Rep. Jay Rodne - R- North Bend - N 41st District - Rep. Judy Clibborn - D-Mercer Island - Y 41st District - Rep. Marci Maxwell - D-Renton - Y Voting key - Y = Yes, N - No, E = Excused, NV = Not voting Source: WashingtonVotes.org, a free, non- partisan Web site to find plain-English explanations of bills and a record of each legislator's votes. Learn more at www. Washington Votes. org. PUBLIC MEETINGS April 22 Human Services Commission 7-9 p.m. Coho Room, City Hall 130 E. Sunset Way April 23 Civil Service Commission 4-5 p.m. Coho Room, City Hall 130 E. Sunset Way Cable 1V Commission 6-9 p.m. Coho Room, City Hall 130 E. Sunset Way Planning Policy Commission Agenda: Central Issaquah Plan update, transportation concurrency, officer elections 110 Bush St. 6:30-9 p.m. Council Chambers, City Hall South April 28 135 E. Sunset Way Committee-of-the-Whole Council Agenda: Interstate 90 Snoqualmie April 27 Pass East presentation, quarterly Park Board finance report, campaign finance Agenda: Parks Comprehensive Plan reform update, Issaquah Central Sub-Area 6:30-9 p.m. Plan update, officer elections Council Chambers, City Hall South 7-9 p.m. 135 E. Sunset Way Issaquah Trails House 8 km |,, PROM PAGE A4 have disappeared as older veter- ans pass away and the younger generations care less and less. What is that about? Is it lack of education? Apathy? Here's some things you should know: A person who has served in the military is a veteran, whether he or she fought in combat or not. Millions of men and women have served this country. And even those who haven't fought in a war worked hard and sacrificed much during their service. Millions of men and women have been injured and/or dis- abled during their service. Hundreds of thousands of men and women have died during their service to this country. If you can read this column, you should thank a veteran, cross issue on Page A1.) If you disagree with this col- , The number of World War II umn, you should thank a veteran, veterans is dwindling at a rapid If you can wake up on a Sunday rate. If you know an older vet- or any other day, and go to the eran, you should thank him or house of worship of your choice, her today. you should thank a veteran. Every single person in this coun- If you have been able to go to try is standing on the backs of vet- school, you should thank a vet- erans, all of whom have tolled and eran. many of whom have died to make If you think we should be at sure you're free to do all of these war, you should thank a veteran, things and so many more. If you don't think we should be Learn more about veterans af- ar war, you should thank a vet- fairs at www.va.gov. eran. If you can complain, either on Beach Editor Kathleen R. Merrill at 392- the pro or the con side of this 6434, ext. 227, or editor@isspress.com. cross issue, you should thank a Comment on this column at veteran. (Read the story about the www.issaquahpress.com. 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Printed in the U.S.A. Offer expires 4130109. j / / I / / I / / ~ / / I / / / I / Issaquah/Sammamish prin3 ..... Fo will be available FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER'S 1 lam-4pm at Crossroads Bellevue-NE 8th & 156th Ave NE Join us for a full day of music and fun at our 12th annual Fair! Explore volunteer opportunities at 50 nonprofit organizations! For more information, call 425.869.6699 or visit www.familyresourcecenter.org