All the other options seem to have been closed. There seems not to be a lot of overt criticism of what Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has proposed in her budget offering: A huge slashing of state spending, everywhere from small items like the state tourism and arts offices to big ones like education.
Here, for example, is a description of just a few of the education cuts:
Eliminate K-4 class size reduction funds provided to school districts above the state’s basic education allocations for teachers. Funding is sufficient to reduce class size by 1.8 students per teacher above the state’s basic education allocation. ($216.0 million GF-S)
Eliminate the Highly Capable, or Gifted Program, which provides funding to school districts for educational opportunities designed
to challenge highly capable students. The program serves up to 2 percent of the students in each school district. ($18.6 million GF-S)
Eliminate or reduce smaller programs, grants and allocations, including multi-year pilot programs and specialized programs that are not central to school operations. Program eliminations include the Beginning Teacher Pilot Mentoring Program, Focused Assistance Program, Superintendent and Principal Internship Program, middle and high school applied math grants, Leadership Academy, career and technical education program startup grants, Readiness to Learn Program and Washington Reading Corps. Reductions of 6 to 10 percent are made to several other state programs. ($37.1 million GF-S)
Reduce by 10 percent the Washington Achievers and College Bound scholarships and student outreach programs. ($742,000 GF-S)
Suspend the Student Achievement Program under Initiative 728, which provides smaller class sizes, extended learning time for students and professional development for teachers. ($860.2 million GF-S)
And on and on, page after page.
Again, Gregoire and the legislature are essentially boxed in. The consequences of that are that, as the Horse's Ass blog put it, "it surely makes for a meaner, poorer, less healthy and less well educated state."
The people concerned about taxes and spending haven't, most likely, been looking at the impacts on the other side of the equation. After this session, probably the whole state will be.