Bill Lyne, the president of the United Faculty of Washington State (UFWS), recently wrote an editorial for the Stand (the mouthpiece of the Washington State Labor Council) that confirms the budget negotiation strategy of Democrats and their million-dollar campaign donors moving forward. First, he lays blame on state Senate Republicans for stalling budget negotiations. Second, he attempts to paint the state capital gains income tax (the Jay Inslee-proposed tax holding up an agreement) as an issue of class warfare. Third, he reveals that Democrats are banking on the public blaming Republicans for a state government shutdown.
Lyne begins his editorial by offering his [fictional] version of what happened last week when Jay Inslee and budget director David Schumacher told reporters that lawmakers had reached a “tentative” spending level agreement, a claim that turned out to be false. In his version of events, Senate Republicans are to blame for the “deal” falling through. Of course, that’s not true, but it allowed Inslee to claim credit for a deal that hadn’t happened yet.
As the Everett Herald pointed out, Inslee and Schumacher’s announcement probably harmed any progress made during negotiations. The Herald,
“Schumacher, in the view of lawmakers, committed a major foul by telling reporters about what purportedly transpired behind those closed doors. For all their disagreements, Democrats and Republicans agree there must be a cone of silence on those conversations. That’s why the door is closed.”
That’s when Inslee got the boot from budget negotiations. Though, reportedly, he has served his time-out and has been allowed back in.
Next, in championing a state capital gains income tax, Lyne claims it is needed to fund public education. He then goes on to describe the state capital gains income tax, the issue that has been a roadblock in budget talks, as a showdown between the privileged and everyone else. Lyne writes,
“Meanwhile, the roar against the silence of the privileged is getting louder and louder.”
Contrary to Lyne’s claims, the latest state revenue forecast revealed lawmakers have $3.2 billion (a whopping 9.2% increase) more in tax revenue than they had last time they wrote the state budget. New taxes are not needed to meet our state’s funding needs.
Additionally, a state capital gains income tax is not an issue of class warfare. Rather, it is an issue of economic growth. The volatility of the capital gains income tax creates uncertainty—an uncertainty that negatively impacts economic growth. A study conducted by the Tax Foundation found that our nation’s high capital gains tax—let alone an additional state-level capital gains tax—is “problematic, because the capital gains tax creates a bias against savings, slows economic growth, and places a double-tax on corporate profits.” The study ultimately concludes that repealing the capital gains tax is the best course of action in order to “stop the damaging practice of taxing individuals on inflation” and “produce positive long-term dynamic effects for the economy.”
Another passage by Lyne – suggesting that local teachers just organically rose up in protest, and not at the direction of the WEA (the statewide teachers union that put $1 million dollars into getting Jay Inslee elected to give them pay raises) is equally as laughable:
“And for those of you still clinging to the idea that this was the work of union bosses, not teachers, enough already. Half the teachers in the state don’t walk out because a Svengali union leader told them to, they walk out because they’re fed up and disgusted.”
That suggestion has already been shown to be wrong – using the WEA’s own meeting minutes. As Shift reported, the WEA began planning the strikes as early as last year. Minutes from a WEA meeting held on April 24, 2014 reveal the union’s intention to organize illegal strikes—that’s long before lawmakers announced any plans for how they would proceed with education funding.
Lyne wraps-up his editorial with a telling statement. He writes,
“From the day they introduced their tax package, the House Democrats have steadfastly claimed they have the votes to pass it. So maybe it’s time they just went ahead and did that, made a few headlines of their own, and brought the state tax code just a little bit closer to its inevitable leap into the 21st century.
“Hell, most people usually blame Republicans for government shutdowns anyway.”
Interestingly enough, Lyne prompts Democrats to vote on their tax hike proposals—something they have been too politically cowardly to do and something that has impeded the budget negotiation process. That’s simply because they do not have a majority of their own members willing to vote for huge increases, in part thanks to Republicans winning four House seats last fall and reducing Speaker Frank Chopp’s majority to two seats, and thus also reducing his ability to just tell everyone what to do.
Of course, the reasoning behind Lyne’s call for a tax vote is the hope that it would solidify House Democrats’ position and “make them less willing to compromise,” as if they’ve done a lot of compromising up to this point.
Lyne’s closing line confirms just what Shift recently reported: while Republicans have a budget plan, Democrats have a plan to blame Republicans.
Yeah! Vote aye on new taxes, Democrats. What are you waiting for? It’ll be glorious!
Eastside Sanity says
I blame the liberals for everything gone wrong in this state.
Lyin’ Lyne at it again.