Early yesterday morning, state Senate Democrats backtracked on a previous agreement and refused to vote for the suspension of the Washington Education Association’s money-grab Initiative 1351 unless the Senate first passed a non-related bill (that, of course, would curry favor with the WEA), that would lower state testing standards.
The Democrats’ refusal to abide by their word has left a $2 billion hole in the state budget. That budget which many of the same Democrats had voted for a day earlier, assumes a $2 billion reduction of spending for I-1351.
By all accounts, Senate Democrats have decided to break a significant promise and are now blackmailing Republicans. With no deal in sight, the Senate decided to adjourn until Friday. And, once again, Democrats are holding the people’s business hostage to their demands.
Senate Democrats’ decision has invoked frustration from Republican lawmakers… and pretty much every outside onlooker, including the News Tribune editorial board. A new editorial starts off,
“Washingtonians last November chose not to let Democrats control the state Senate. After what happened in Olympia early Wednesdaymorning, it’s hard to quarrel with the voters’ verdict.”
The News Tribune goes on to point out that months worth of negotiations were destroyed by… Democrats bowing to the will of the teachers’ union. The New Tribune,
“But after all of it had seemingly come together, the Senate’s minority Democrats suddenly threw a wrench into the gears, apparently at the behest of the state’s teachers union.
“Refusing to suspend the impossible spending demands of last year’s union-backed “class size initiative,” they demanded that Republicans gut the state’s high school graduation requirements.
“In effect, they blew a $2 billion hole in the carefully negotiated operating budget.”
Senate Democrats’ decision to sabotage the state budget came as a surprise for three reasons. The New Tribune,
- The Legislature had just approved the best education budget in decades…
- The multibillion-dollar initiative [I-1351] Senate Democrats suddenly embraced this week has been a fantasy since the day it was written…
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Senate Democratic minority discredited itself with this sneak attack on the work of House Democrats and Senate Republicans…
In the end, Senate Democrats revealed just where their priorities lie, and it’s not with the people who elected them – it’s with their party’s million-dollar campaign donors. They double-crossed Senate Republicans—and even the House Democrats who voted to suspend I-1351—in order to please their deep-pocket labor donors at the WEA. The News Tribune editorial board wraps-up the mess best when it writes,
“Were the Senate Democrats actually bent on reviving I-1351? Or were they so committed to watering down Washington’s graduation standards that they’d sabotage hard-won budget deals negotiated by fellow Democrats?
“Neither possibility speaks well of their judgment — or capacity to govern.”