As the state Legislature convenes to deal with the severe, state budget woes, perhaps it can think outside the box to achieve a better solution than the governor's proposed "all-cuts" budget. Here are some suggestions:
Get rid of the subsidized “running-start” program for community colleges. Not only does it cost colleges money that they don’t have, but high school students aren’t properly screened for maturity to be in college-level classes. This has had a negative impact on class discipline and learning by college students who are paying the full cost to take these classes.
Make marijuana legal in our state, or at least stop throwing tons of money into “pot busts.” Do any politicians have the gumption to downsize the police force to focus on more serious crimes that actually make a difference for public safety?
Don’t eliminate physical education or allow junk foods for grade-school children. This would hurt their health and productivity, and cost us dearly in the future. Mortgaging the health of our future leaders is just plain stupid.
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Don’t allow Gov. Chris Gregoire to pull a “Hugo Chavez” by getting rid of citizen input into the state’s natural-resource agencies, notably for parks and fish and wildlife. Such a move won’t save much money, and sports people are more amenable to raising license and access fees than losing their voice in outdoors recreation. The same goes for the state’s education system, if the elected superintendent, as with appointed natural-resource commissioners, come to merely serve emasculated, advisory functions.