There are lots of winners and losers in Gov. Jay Inlsee's budget proposal, which he announced earlier today: He eliminated half a billion in specific tax breaks (lots of losers there, including the oil industry); he added $1.26 billion in new K-12 funding—on top of the $16.4 billion in basic maintenance (winners kids/losers Republicans—who have to beat those numbers now); and he transferred $84 million out of the toxic cleanup fund to amp the general fund (losers environmentalists).
But two moments in today's press conference provide today's real Jolts.
Today's Loser: Jay Inslee's Lean Management Rhetoric
Neither Inslee's former (completely exasperated) Republican opponent, Rob McKenna, nor reporters like yours truly, who were frustrated by Inslee's ephemeral campaign trail rhetoric about LEAN management savings, could have said it better than Inslee's own Office of Financial Management Director David Schumacher today.
Asked by an AP reporter if Inslee's budget proposal booked any savings from LEAN management, Schumacher said, "No," and then added this:
"That [booking savings from LEAN] seemed like an artificial way of making our balance sheet look better. Our balance sheet is based on solid numbers."
Thank you Mr. Schumacher.
Today's Winner: Jay Inslee's Political Rhetoric
Asked by another reporter if his tax break proposal was DOA—as "history suggests" it would be (Olympia is littered with failure after failure when it comes to repealing tax breaks once the lobbyists—like the oil industry—spring into action), Inslee said:
"History suggests we'd never get health care reform. History suggests we'd never get marriage equality. I'm just not that kind of governor. I'm betting on the future."
Slightly cheesy. (You shouldn't expect less from Inslee, who often sounds a little like George W. Bush ...today he used the word "mutuality" to explain that he's spoken to the Republicans and there are some agreements on the budget.) But despite Inslee's gosh-gee-whiz enthusiasm, he's onto something.
And who knew? Mutuality is actually a word.