“What people need to understand is that we are seeing this budget for the first time,” the Republican staff member told me. “There are a lot of things that need to change.”
Recently the Governor made public his proposal for the state’s two-year budget. The day following his speech a Senate page brought around a hand-truck load of budget documents.
When I visited my Republican Senate colleague, the staff had budget papers spread out over a desk and were trying to make sense of it – even as phone calls and emails from constituents were coming in.
As we scramble to find buried details, some constituents already were expressing themselves to lawmakers. The back-and-forth between constituents and legislators is a vital aspect of the political process, and input from citizens is never more important than during the two-year budget process.
We all know the headlines: $300 million cut to the UW; cutting the UW loose from state government; lower funding for K-12 schools; statewide subsidy for private schools; state money to make a small dent in rising property taxes.
But it will take months to identify all the specifics.
That’s where you come in. It’s one thing to see a number on a page. It is quite another to understand the effect of a budget action across the state.