Opinion editorials by Senator Joe Fain
Budgeting requires difficult decisions and a commitment to governing. In 2012, a bipartisan coalition of senators instituted an important fiscal reform: the four-year balanced-budget law. Washington is the first state with this check on budget gimmicks, our greatest defense against self-inflicted financial chaos.
Transitioning into adulthood can be a daunting experience... Think about how difficult this transition would be if the home or homes you grew up in were no longer an option and you couldn’t turn to your parents for guidance or financial help.
Criminal street gangs are a serious burden in Central and South King County. Gang violence is not a new phenomenon and needs to be addressed. The most fertile ground for the spread of gangs is the hearts and minds of our youth. At a young age, our most vulnerable children are making decisions that could lead them to a lifetime of violence and criminal behavior. In order to address the problem, we must look to prevention and early interventions.
In a politically polarized environment, Washington state lawmakers were able to move beyond partisan politics and craft a plan that works for all of the state.
Editor’s note: The following is the address delivered by state Sen. Joe Fain at the Tahoma National Cemetery Memorial Day program.
Washington has a part-time, citizen Legislature. This means lawmakers gather in Olympia anywhere from two to four months per year to debate policy and vote on changes to state law. However, the job is anything but part-time; lawmakers spend the full year working with constituents, researching potential legislation and, for many, also working their day jobs.
After a long and controversial session, the Legislature learned two valuable lessons in the passage of its 2013 budget: Establish priorities and keep your word.
Imagine picking up your local newspaper to find this story: “Today lawmakers from both political parties agreed to cooperate in support of a shared set of principles that include helping middle-class families and promoting a world-class public education system.”
Two weeks ago we joined a bipartisan majority of state senators to present a long-term sustainable budget that doesn’t spend more money than the state expects to collect. This proposal not only addresses the remaining 16 months left in the current two-year budget cycle, but also the next two-year budget cycle through mid-2015. Families and small businesses face serious consequences if they do not live within their means and plan for the future; state government is no different.