We are here in the midst of turbulent upheaval when really, any kind of change is often fraught with fear. Acknowledging our fear and then still making a plan to keep putting one foot in front of the other is still what is necessary of us, however.
Our state budget has a chasm between planned expenses and forecasted revenue. When Democrats are faced with that we hear “we cannot cut our way out of this.” I disagree. The only first step that can honestly be likened to being a good steward of the tax dollars entrusted to the government is to cut spending; and cut we must because we cannot tax our way out of this. We must strategically look for what is “essential” to run our state government and cut what is inefficient, missing its target, or flat out wasteful.
Based upon this, I lay forward one proposal that I ask all other lieutenant governor candidates to support: abolish the office of lieutenant governor and its budget and reallocate those dollars to something more essential.
Under Article 3, Section 25 of the Washington Constitution, “[t]he legislature may in its discretion abolish the offices of the lieutenant governor, auditor and commissioner of public lands.” The lieutenant governor is one of three offices the legislature has authority to simply eliminate.
The duties of the lieutenant governor would be divvied out as the legislature decides, but all of them could fairly easily be assigned to existing members and staff. The president pro tem could act as president of the senate. The rules committee could be run by the majority leader. The main, and most significant duty for the lieutenant governor is to be on-call, so to speak, to serve as governor if the governor is incapacitated, dies, or resigns. After lieutenant governor, the Washington Constitution provides the line of succession goes to the secretary of state, followed by the treasurer.
Our budget shortfall is nearly 9 billion dollars so 3 million may sound like small potatoes, but this is the kind of detail focus that is required, even for comparatively small dollar items. That 3 million dollars is not small to those potato farmers who gave away tons of their 2019 crop after restaurants did not purchase potatoes because of the shutdowns. That 3 million dollars is not small for the seemingly countless numbers of individuals walking the streets of downtown Seattle exhibiting behavior that is anti-social at best and violent at worst, in need of mental illness treatment. We need to cut whatever is not essential from our state budget because there is no doubt that waste has accumulated when we have not cleaned out our political closet in years: it is the only step a good steward takes.
We must have everything on the table, and to me, that includes the office for which I am running to win. We need people elected at this time who can look at things with fresh eyes and a wholly new approach, not more of the same recycled views of those looking to use it as a career ladder or a paycheck of tax dollars. Just like my city of Seattle electeds who have demanded they need more and more millions of dollars to resolve “homelessness” only to have the problem and the price tag increase simultaneously–money is not always the sole solution to problems. We cannot have COVID-19 be used for any political purpose and must have electeds act as the real fiduciary they should be.