June 10, 2008 · Updated 5:51 PM
"In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray wakes up every morning to the same day, Groundhog Day. He knows what will happen every day because every day is the same. It must be Groundhog Day, again, this session in Olympia. They're working on the very same issues that they were last year and the year before and the year before. The only difference is that now they have fewer dollars to spend and more urgent needs to address. What were they working on last year? Transportation, ferries, education, health and infrastructure. What are they working on this year? Like we said, it's Groundhog Day all over again. And just to make sure that they don't get to the burning issues of the day, legislators waste precious days licensing tattoo artists, and deciding whether we should be one state or two. And, big surprise, at the end of the session they'll go into overtime and haggle over the very same issues-transportation, ferries, education, health and infrastructure. Instead, we would encourage you fine folks in Olympia to take the few puny tax dollars that aren't yet encumbered with initiatives, other requirements or federal guidelines, and accomplish these basic goals on the same old Groundhog Day subjects: 1. Provide enough funds to educate our children well (that is your primary mission according to the state constitution, after all.) Never mind the bickering about what is basic education, and what's a frill, we'll be happy this year if you can just keep the teachers paid adequately, keep the kids' computers running, provide a safe school building and bus for them. (Much as we would like you to totally revamp the ludicrous way schools are funded in Washington, we've given up hope that you will get to that anytime soon. We'll grumble loudly, but we can live with the archaic levy system for a little while longer.) 2. Keep our ferries running and our highways in reasonable repair. We're willing to pay a reasonable cost to commute, but don't eliminate our major transportation link by pricing it out of the reach of regular working folks. 3. Provide enough law enforcement to keep us reasonably safe. 4. Give each of us fair access to health care. Our poor and our seniors should not have to do without basic medical care or choose between food and life sustaining prescriptions. 5. Could you also try to keep the lights on? We recognize that our current energy problems are a regional/international issue, but it would be nice to have a reasonable certainty each winter day that we will have electricity. And, if not, there's always next year when it will be Groundhog Day once again. "