The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar


HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.


Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 12:01 a.m.
Herald recommendation / No on Initiative 1163


An unaffordable mandate

Having failed to convince the Legislature to fund expanded background checks and training for long-term-care workers, the union that represents many such folks is taking its pitch directly to voters for the second time in three years.
We think voters should say no to Initiative 1163, the timing for which couldn't be worse. It would cost about $18 million over the next two years, just as another $2 billion in state budget cuts are ravaging other programs, including health care, education and corrections.
Voters may well say yes to Initiative 1163, having passed a nearly identical measure in 2008 by a 73-27 percent margin. That won't make it any more affordable than it was then, when lawmakers facing deep budget cuts declined to implement the unfunded mandate.
Even Gov. Chris Gregoire, who says she agrees that adding more training for people who provide care to seniors and people with disabilities would be a good thing, opposes I-1163, saying the additional costs can't be justified now.
Among other changes, the measure would increase the training requirement for new long-term-care workers from 34 hours to 75 hours. It would also require that all new workers undergo a federal criminal background check -- currently, all workers must pass a state background check; those who are new to Washington already undergo a federal check.
Such changes would be nice to have, but are hardly essential -- and certainly not when services such as community supervision of parolees is being slashed.
The Legislature didn't kill the measure voters passed in 2008, it simply delayed it until the current budget crisis subsides. That so irked the Service Employees International Union that it's spending more than $1 million to have the Legislature's responsible decision overturned.
Initiatives that create expensive mandates but no mechanism to pay for them should be among the first things delayed in a budget crisis. The Legislature has also done so, appropriately, with two expensive education measures intended to reduce class sizes and guarantee teachers cost-of-living raises.
I-1163 was born of impatience and stubbornness, and without regard to glaring fiscal realities. Voters should reject it.

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we wonít ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet Classifieds