Letters To The Editor - Skipping payments not answer

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The headline on Sen. Mike Hewitt's special to the Union-Bulletin column (page A4, March 7) implied the Senate budget was a joint effort between the two political parties.

Other articles on the subject sound more like it was a budget written by Republicans and then three Democrats, upset with their party's budget, joined ranks to show their disapproval.

No stories were read indicating any input from Democrats in the writing of the Senate Republican budget.

Several times I've heard the term "kicking the can forward" referring to a proposal to defer a cost until a later budget cycle.

The Republican plan to skip a payment to Plan 1 retirement system (which caused it to be underfunded in the first place) seems to fall into that category.

Skipping the payment to balance today's shortfall would more than double the cost "down the road" according to the fiscal note on ESB 6378.

There may be a need for reform but skipping a payment to the retirement systems that are currently the most underfunded sounds less like reform and more like repeating mistakes of the past -- regardless of which party was in control at the time.

Such irresponsible actions by several legislatures are why Washington state Treasurer James McIntire has said a constitutional change may be needed to force legislators to do what they should do anyway -- fully fund pension systems instead of using them to balance budgets.

Jim Davison
Waitsburg

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