Friday, November 18, 2011
State Rep. Barbara Bailey's Coffee Talk for Stanwood Residents
"Cassandra" predicament. She was right.
Like Republicans nationwide, Rep. Bailey proposed limiting taxes, cutting back on spending and streamlining regulation. Generally, I like to know how new programs are going to be funded and who will be adversely affected by budget cuts. I have found regulations can be a good or bad idea. So I can't respond to general statements about them.
Rep. Bailey believes there could be changes in how some programs are structured that would save money without cutting services. I asked for examples. She mentioned early childhood education and health care. She also felt that cuts should be more weighted towards service administrations rather than service staff as cuts have been in the past. We did not have time to go into more detail but I hope to read more about these ideas. So I signed up on her email list.
After her presentation, much of the discussion was about how Democrats and Republican are working together. While there are basic differences between the parties, she observed that individual votes do not follow strict party lines. As examples she points to her own appointments to important subcommittees such as Pensions and Veterans' Affairs - even though as a Republican she is in the minority.
Another interest among residents was the interface between our education system and employment in the State. Just as Boeing is now being awarded major contracts to build new planes, many of their top engineers will be retiring. The company worries about there being the educated work force they need here. One gentleman wanted to know how much will taxpayers be required to help Boeing. I expect that local economists can figure out how much it would cost to expand the engineering departments of our Universities and the effect that would have on the State budget if graduates were hired by Boeing. I wonder whether we will have enough high school grads ready for the challenges of Science education. When I looked at State math scores they were not impressive. I warned the others at the coffee talk that there were only two of us from WA State when I was taking graduate Statistics at the Univ. of WA. About half the class was from China.