This week, the Washington state legislature is holding a special session to deal with issues related to the state’s budget. Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has called on the legislature to cut $2 billion from the discretionary budget of $8.7 billion. Many worry that these cuts will come at the expense of the poor and middle class, and will not ask any sacrifices from those who are well-off. As the Olympia Newswire’s Trevor Griffey notes, this unbalanced approach has been the norm over the past few years:
“During the two years that Democrats held a supermajority in the legislature (2009-10), they faced a combined set of budget deficits of $13 billion. They filled 46 percent of the budget hole ($5.9 billion) with spending cuts, and only 7 percent ($920 million) with revenue increase.”
So yesterday, nearly two thousand 99 Percenters descended on the state capitol in an event they dubbed “Occupy The Capitol.” As thousands marched outside the building, dozens encamped themselves inside, where they performed a “Mic Check” calling for fairness. Other demonstrators infiltrated the legislative meeting itself, disrupting it as three activists were tased and 30 were evicted.
Watch video from insider the capitol, showing that scores of demonstrators rallied inside, in an action that is similar to sustained protests in the Wisconsin capitol last winter:
As the protests continue to rage, polling shows that the people of Washington state are drifting away from an unfair, cuts-only approach to budgeting. A new poll released found that only 20 percent of respondents in the state wanted to see a cuts-only approach to balancing the budget, down from 37 percent last year. Meanwhile 54 percent said they were willing to pay higher sales taxes to reduce cuts.