One of the arguments heard against the idea of the eastern side of Washington breaking off into a new state (e.g., State of Liberty) is that the eastern side of the state "benefits" from the west side's money. How is the west side's money benefiting the east side when each resident owes almost $3k?
Why Should I Help Olympia?
According to a December 26, 2017 news article by Wendy Culverwell in The Tri-City Herald every Washington resident ‘owes’ $2,717 to pay Washington state’s $21 billion debt. When I hear such numbers, I wonder if I’d be willing to make such an additional financial sacrifice for the good of the state-wide community. After all, I’m all for doing my part for the common good. Unfortunately, the reality is I don’t trust the government to use my money prudently to pay off its debts, nor make sound financial decisions. I wonder, “Why are these debts present at all?”
First, I don’t trust that the State of Washington is spending my money on programs or projects that I would support. For example, how much of this money supports Planned Parenthood? Is this money being used for Light Rail?
Second, is this money being administered in the most cost-effective manner? After all, government has very low incentive for thrift. Can some of these projects and programs be better managed by private enterprise?
Third, is there any way to prevent wastefulness in the future? What stops politicians from deciding to overspend? Note that this article points out that Washington state treasurer, Duane Davidson, has refused requests from Republicans and Democrats to use the state’s emergency reserves for desired purposes. Why are either party’s members seeking to use the emergency fund rather than cut back on spending?
Since Washington is one of the “most highly leveraged states” in the nation, and there isn’t any likelihood that my tax money will be spent wisely, I have no desire to pitch in an extra $3k to solve the debt crisis. Rather, I expect that changes be put in place to prevent politicians from doing this in the future.
Term Limits or Constitutional Amendment?
Perhaps, one of the best ways to prevent such reckless financial accountability is for politicians to have term limits. Term limits would discourage career politicians and discourage the influence of lobbyists. Additionally, a constitutional amendment to the state’s constitution should be enacted to prevent deficit spending. Some may argue that such a law would hurt during a time of crisis. I wonder how many crises would be avoided if debts were avoided and savings pursued? I don’t mind the state government investing in its future with surplus revenue. Imagine a state government that only paid for programs and projects with cash. If government were collecting interest rather than paying interest, maybe we wouldn’t need as many taxes.
Can the State of Liberty Help?
Now some, if not all my comments may be regurgitating the same arguments that many conservatives in this state have mentioned before. It may seem like a waste of time preaching against the financial waste coming out of Olympia. Let me go back to my original question – How is the west side's money benefiting the east side when each resident owes almost $3k? Realistically, the politicians in the State of Washington are not going to change their reckless spending activities. Term limits and a constitutional amendment preventing such waste are not going to easily pass.
So, what about the possibility of the more conservative east side of the state breaking off from the liberal west side? While it is likely for conservatives to leave the state, I am hopeful that State of Liberty independence is a greater possibility than term limits or a surplus only spending constitutional amendment. I’m tired of hearing the west side arrogantly boast that their money is needed by the east side. The important point is, we don’t need the debt.
I applaud Washington state treasurer, Duane Davidson’s efforts to help the state’s financial debt crisis. Rather than tapping into the state’s emergency reserve, every effort needs to be made to cut spending. Are all the projects and programs in Washington state necessary or best provided for by government? If not, then they should be considered for cuts. Our state will thrive more if we get out of debt and pay for projects and programs with cash.