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Washington's budget mess: Close prisons or raise taxes?

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posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:14 PM
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Washington's budget mess: Close prisons or raise taxes?


www.seattlepi.com

Eliminating the Department of Corrections: $1.6 billion.

Axing the Department of Natural Resources: About a half billion dollars.

Getting rid of the state's health insurance program for the poor: Maybe $160 million in savings.

Even if lawmakers did all of the above they'd still have to come up with roughly $400 million to balance the state budget. And while the state won't close its prisons and is unlikely to completely eliminate the safety net for the state's neediest, the dire talk - coming from Gov. Chris Gregoire, no less - illustrates the problem legislators will confront whe
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
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posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:14 PM
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Complicating matters for lawmakers is the fact that 70 percent of the state's $31 billion operating budget that runs through 2011 can't be cut, either because of state law protecting things like K-12 education or federal rules. That leaves the remaining programs especially vulnerable.


Entitlement program spending... a giant albatros hanging around the neck of the American taxpayer. I placed this article in Breaking Alternative News rather than in the regional politics for two reasons...

1. The Seattle Post Intelligencer, now an online edition only "newspaper" since the economy sent them out of business earlier this year, is the only local new source discussing this. Convenient that the remaining local print newspaper, the Seattle Times, didn't have so much as a peep about this over the weekend. Seems logical to assume that there was some pressure on them to not discuss the fact that we've gone from a massive deficit being "salvaged" via cuts and federal money in July to, once again, in the bottom of a giant multi-billion dollar deficit 5 months later.

2. This article may be about the state of Washington today, but I have little doubt that it will ultimately be a decision almost all 50 states get stuck making. Every state has, to some degree, saddled themselves with entitlement spending which cannot be cut from their budget. When all of the fat is trimmed, you begin to cut into the meat... we're seeing the knife now in Washington and I'm sorry to say the rest of the country will get sliced into as well before this is over.

So let's look at what this means.
According to a press release from the state Office of Financial Management www.ofm.wa.gov... the state spent $500,000 to conduct a study which suggested the state should effectively eliminate the department of corrections and downsize the penitentiary system. That's brilliant... how much of the savings will be eaten up by local police agencies battling the unrehabillitated inmates who get early release or are not incarcerated at all under the trimmed down system?

The cuts to the state health care for underprivaledged families is another issue which has national ramifications. Several years ago the governor was tooting her own horn about the state's "progressive" low-income health benefits. It was a swell program when the economy was strong. Unfortunately, now that times are lean, it's caused a damned if you do, damned if you don't connundrum. People who really need it are using the program right now. These are families who had been working and had paid into the system and now it could be yanked out from under them. FWIW, the program has also been fraught with fraud... as would the national level system if it were to be implemented.

The alternative is a tax hike. The idea of raising taxes in the current economy reeks of foolishness. The tax breaks they are discussing elimination of are essentially the #1 reason Washington has high technological centered jobs in the first place. Boeing, Microsoft, Nintendo, and T-Mobile among many others are here because of the tax breaks. Boeing is already putting one foot out the door, having awarded South Caroline with a brand new Dreamliner factory which rivals their facillities here. Microsoft is probabaly here to stay, but their outsourcing of work will almost certainly skyrocket if they start seeing additional taxaes heading their way. Not to mention the non-tech industries here such as Weyerhauser and CostCo's corporate headquarters. The state has seen how brutal mass layoffs can be when WaMu went under... magnify that exponentially if the giants of middle class employment like Boeing or Microsoft decide to follow suit.

I don't know what the answer is. That's what bothers me so much at this point. We have been forced into a corner where there is no non-painfull way to escape. The American dream is still alive in parts of the United States... but I see it dying in some parts, too.

www.seattlepi.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:24 PM
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Legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana = surplus of ??? billions yearly.

Wake up washington...legalizing this plant would empty out alot of prisons, make tons of money, and put the money into the hands of the people verses the criminal organizations as it is now.


incidently, I havent smoked in 8 years and dont plan on it even if it was legal...but I see absolutely no harm in this moreso than alcohol.

also prostitution should be legalized, regulated, and taxed...its not like it being illegal has made it go away or safer...



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:26 PM
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Perfect! Threaten us to either further support the beast or they are going to unleash hardened criminals on us all!

There is no answer to this. The pendulum has swung too far in one direction. A country can not amass the sheer volume of debt that we have and continue to enjoy every aspect of material wealth, programs, security, etc.

Here's the thing: they are going to raise taxes. They have to. There is no other way to generate money at this point. Everyday another person loses their house and everyday the government loses the property tax on that house. Meanwhile, that same person now goes to the unemployment office and receives a paycheck. This works except at a time when the foreclosures are coming in faster than the taxes and the unemployment line keeps growing.

My taxes already have gone up $185 for the first quarter of 2010. The funniest part is that they have already sent me a notice that says another increase may happen before the second quarter and therefore are not sending me my estimated taxes for the second quarter. This, ironically, when my house has lost more than 34% of its value. I appealed for a new assessment value, but was denied.

Next up: Paying for healthcare reform. They better hurry up though since there's not much left in the paycheck to take!!



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:28 PM
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Why are these the two choices?

How about just stimulate the tax base again? Get the economy going? Pull back some jobs and put people to work again? Frankly, other than the rich who are basically untouchable taxwise, most of us really don't have much left to pay these magical more taxes.

As for closing prisons, how about we just cut the prison population and streamline prisons and their cost in a more logical way so that they are more self-supporting? Free deadbeat dads and pot smokers?



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by ~Lucidity
Why are these the two choices?

How about just stimulate the tax base again? Get the economy going? Pull back some jobs and put people to work again? Frankly, other than the rich who are basically untouchable taxwise, most of us really don't have much left to pay these magical more taxes.

As for closing prisons, how about we just cut the prison population and streamline prisons and their cost in a more logical way so that they are more self-supporting? Free deadbeat dads and pot smokers?


It would be very difficult to stimulate the tax base as long as unemployment remains as high as it is. That should have been done when the Stimulus package went through -- but it wasn't and now it's a little late. Any money that people get their hands on will likely be saved -- the ones that blow it right away are probably the ones we are supporting through government programs anyway.

Cutting the prison population would be a very precarious move. How does one say that you are only dangerous and a threat to society when they have money? But now that they're broke -- you're OK to be set free.

Further, this would increase the spending in government programs anyway. Criminals are not going to be able to find work any better than the rest of us.



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:44 PM
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reply to post by SaturnFX
 


i dont knw much of americas prblems but from what i reado n here, however if u applied your thinking to England i htink it would help us out alot as it would help any country out, these things should not be illegal !

we do what we want untill it hurts other then should that person be punished.



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by SaturnFX
 


I have no problems with marijuana being legalized. But they sure as hell better legalize other things like anabolic steroids and growth hormone. These are scheduled III drugs and that is ridiculous.

However, I'm against legalizing prostitution. I think that is ridiculous. We are too much of a sex addicted and sex crazed society. Would you want your daughter turning to prostitution to make a living? It's easy to say legalize it when it's not your kids turning to it. We should be fighting poverty and bringing back American jobs and American prosperity. If you do that you take care of the drug problem and things like prostitution.



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:52 PM
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How about we stop all the perks given to criminals and feed them bread and water with an occassional piece of protein such as chicken. The criminals don't need to have 3 square meals a day plus a weight room, library and other perks.


Secondly, kill all the people on death row already instead of having to house them for 20 years until their appeals run out.



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by WhatTheory
 



The criminals don't need to have 3 square meals a day plus a weight room, library and other perks.

Secondly, kill all the people on death row already instead of having to house them for 20 years until their appeals run out.


Courts have ruled otherwise.

Otherwise, Texas would probably be leading the charge.

[edit on 23-11-2009 by jam321]



posted on Nov, 23 2009 @ 04:25 PM
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I got a better idea...legalize marijuana, tax it, and release marijuana drug offenders from prison.



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