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March 14, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Westneat responds to Senate budget coup

Column should have addressed funding issues

In a recent Times column, Danny Westneat examined the Senate budget coup, claiming Republicans reneged on commitments to fund education. [“Budget coup that really wasn’t,” NWSunday, March 11.]

While crediting Republicans for political maneuvering, he criticized their stand on a balanced budget. It was the only budget that received any bipartisan support.

Contrary to criticism, Republicans didn’t renounce their education stand. Balanced budgets are a priority on a different level and a precondition to fund any state program. To fund education first, government needs sustainable fiscal plans.

Westneat would better serve the discourse by addressing how government addresses funding challenges in a meaningful way with education as its highest priority. Arbitrary borrowing is not a solution. The Democratic budget funded education by putting stress on future budgets and offered no metrics. This fractured the majority, because Democratic senators wanted better.

Culture change is needed for government to function for the people. Citizens want authentic leaders offering solutions like a priorities-of-government budget. This budget eliminates false choices between fiscal responsibility and education. In 2002, the model produced a balanced budget with support from Gov. Gary Locke and Sen. Dino Rossi.

In the special session, Democrats and Republicans should follow the priorities-of-government model and fund education first.

— Brad Toft, Snoqualmie

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