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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 17, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Washington state budget cuts

The American way

As the state budget is being scrutinized for spending cuts or “tightening the belt,” it is helpful to consider the bigger picture in consequential terms [“Gov. Gregoire suggesting budget cuts Thursday,” News, Dec 15].

In an analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Nobel Prize Economist Joseph Stiglitz and director of the Congressional Budget Office Peter Orszag maintain that “If anything, tax increases on higher-income families are the least damaging mechanism for closing state fiscal deficits in the short run.”

Washington Tax Fairness Coalition Executive Director Barb Flye cites nearly half a billion in new and extended tax breaks could be used to offset spending cuts. A mix of spending cuts and revenue generation present a balanced approach to dealing with our state’s fiscal crisis.

We should insist on corporate financial disclosure to ensure our subsidies have produced the jobs and benefits promised and “clawback” those funds if they haven’t. Tax loopholes are costing our state millions of dollars. Yet programs for health and human services, jobs, education, crime enforcement and public safety are all endangered by spending cuts. It would be a mistake to simply privatize the profits but socialize the losses.

Shared rewards and shared sacrifices; that’s the American way.

— Brian Grad, Bremerton

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