Opinion

Real solutions for state budget needed in Olympia | Guest commentary

By Rep. Jay Rodne

With only a week since the general election, there are several important political races that are still up in the air. What is not left to conjecture is the deep challenge before us in Washington.

For the new and returning legislators from the 5th Legislative District who will face a deep budget deficit, a state Supreme Court mandate on basic education and growing costs from unfunded state pensions. The outlook is bleak indeed.

Voters are understandably saturated with the discussions of state government. They are reluctant to stay involved and are more than pleased to turn off the static and get back to their families, jobs and homes. That is, if they have a job and a home.

My political campaign revealed just how many of our neighbors are unemployed, underemployed or just scraping by. This is the biggest problem facing the next legislative session. How do we build a state that encourages private-sector growth and the job-making engines of private enterprise?

Will the lawmakers of both parties have the foresight and the courage to step beyond party dogma to craft new solutions to our budget mess? I certainly hope so. History, however, has proven the answer to be a resounding “maybe.”

The only way to dig out of our economic doldrums is to provide an environment where small companies can prosper, make a profit, pay taxes and hire more employees. These employees in turn, pay their bills, purchase clothes, cars and pay more sales and property taxes. As the economic cycle increases and becomes stronger, nearly ten percent of most things purchased contribute to the general fund that runs state government.

Short-term solutions such as hiring more public-sector employees, providing selective stimulus funds, and building underused transit systems simply do not have a long-term benefit for Washington.

Post elections, I ask all of you to stay involved. Stay informed. Stay tuned to the discussions that will affect the future of you and your children. Once the session begins, come visit me in Olympia. Call the legislative hotline. Write letters and send emails. The stakes are high and with knowledgeable citizens, it will be a better tomorrow.

Jay Rodne is a Republican legislator representing the 5th District, which includes Maple Valley.

 

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