With a state government shutdown on the horizon due to stalled budget negotiations, state House Democrats and their far-left supporters are doing everything they can to ensure state Senate Republicans bear the brunt of the blame. Indeed, it appears as though Democrats—including Jay Inslee—are more than willing to usher in a government shutdown. That’s because government shutdowns usually work to Democrats’ advantage.
With the public more inclined to blame Republicans for government shutdowns, GOP lawmakers face increased pressure to give into Democrats’ demands. Of course, the strategy depends on the public actually blaming Republicans for the shutdown. Democrats are working hard to ensure that happens. Democrats and their far-left supporters—particularly special interests—are already building the messaging groundwork.
As Shift reported, the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) recently held a rally dedicated to blaming Senate Republicans for the impending government shutdown. The union claimed that Senate Republicans are willing to shut down the state government if it means state employee union members do not receive pay raises as secretly negotiated by Inslee.
That blatant lie brings us to today’s Throw Back Thursday topic: Senate Republicans’ generous offer of compromise on the state employee pay hikes, and House Democrats continued refusal to accept said compromise. The truth of the situation provides clarity over which side is really responsible for stalled budget talks.
Senate Republicans’ revised budget plan offers House Democrats everything they asked for in terms of state employee pay raises. All Republicans asked for in return were simple reforms to the collective bargaining process.
Republican state Sen. John Braun presented the reforms. They include:
- Open the collective bargaining process to the public.
- Restore the state Legislature’s rightful control over tax dollar appropriations by requiring the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCER) to meet at least six times a year to discuss collective bargaining.
- Obligate the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to maintain a web library of state employee CBAs, thereby allowing taxpayers a look into how their hard-earned dollars are used.
- Eliminate interest arbitration as a means of resolving disputes in collective bargaining in order to prevent labor unions from making “exorbitant demands that an employer can’t agree to in the hopes that an arbitrator will award the union more than it could successfully bargain for.”
- Make it clear that “Individual Provider home care aides (IPs) are not eligible to participate in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), since these workers are considered public employees ‘solely for the purposes of collective bargaining.’”
- Define, once and for all, the concept of “financially feasible” in order to prevent the executive branch from using it as a political tool to “provide cover from its actions.”
In short, looking toward the future, Republicans asked for reforms meant to add “transparency, understanding and predictability” to the collective bargaining process. It is a generous compromise for Democrats’ demand—a demand that is meant to reward their million-dollar campaign donors. Unfortunately, it is a generous compromise that has been met with opposition from big labor and Democrats.
The fact of the matter is that Democrats do not seem capable of bargaining in good faith. Democrats refuse to present a complete budget by voting on their proposed tax hikes. And, Democrats—with the help of their far-left supporters—publically lambast Republicans with outrageous lies at every opportunity.
It is a byproduct of having controlled Olympia without a balancing presence for far too long. And, it’s why the state government is heading for a shutdown.