Writings and observations

More later on the Oregon budget proposal from Governor John Kitzhaber. Worth noting for a moment is a couple of paragraphs at the very end of the Oregonian‘s piece on the budget proposal: About the Republican response.

It said this: “Reaction from legislative leaders from both parties was generally favorable. Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, one of the most conservative members of the Legislature, called Kitzhaber’s recommendations a “refreshing development.” He especially liked the governor’s focus on outcomes, rather than budget numbers. “It’s not just about how much money,” Richardson said, “it’s what you get for that money.””

That’s refreshing, too. So often, people in both parties seem to be mesmerized by the numbers, to the exclusion of content. It’s just a reframing, maybe, but in this case that means thinking about what you’re doing in a whole different way.

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Oregon

chart
Glenn Anderson’s chart

This may be a broadly-applicable rule of government and politics: The people who (and this refers to people in geographic areas which) complain the most that their tax money is being sucked up to benefit those other people, over there, almost certainly have it backward. Idaho, for example, is one of the states that long has received more federal money than it pays in, in contrast to states like New York where the opposite tends to apply.

Skip to Washington state, and the parts of the state – mainly east of the Cascades counties – where such complaints run loudest: Our hard-earned tax money being scooped by those liberal to spend on Seattle utopian projects.

Republican Representative Glenn Anderson of Fall City put together and distributed a map (see above) showing which counties are net contributors of state taxes, and which are net recipients. And guess what?

Insult to injury: Anderson came up with the map as part of a proposal (House Joint Resolution 4214, with two Democrats, Hans Dunshee and Reuven Carlyle) “to dissolve and reorganize” counties that receive a lot more than they contribute. Those would be the small (with one exception) counties of Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Stevens, Lincoln, Garfield, Yakima and Wahkiakum, and all (with one exception conservative counties east of the Cascades).

“Oh please,” says the Seattle Times.

Which prompted a more extensive dissertation on the Slog. One pointed instance from it: “But it might help if we, working together as one state, actually understood the underlying facts. I mean, if Ferry County taxpayers truly understood that they receive back more from the state in DSHS spending alone than the total revenues they send to Olympia, their representatives might not be so eager to slash DSHS spending.”

In fact, read it all.

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Washington