A Seattle Democrat earned a heaping of derision earlier this year for suggesting that people would die if the state didn't send a tax increase to the ballot.
We were among the eye-rollers, but there's something to be said for speaking the language of those in power.
So, at the risk of indulging hyperbole, let us suggest an amendment to state Rep. Eric Pettigrew's good little reproach: People will die if the state doesn't take on its employee unions.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, in releasing a plan to bridge a $2.6 billion gap in state revenues last week, argued that she had been unable to wrangle additional concessions from state workers. The result was an intolerable budget proposal that visits suffering on the poor and vulnerable without commensurate sacrifices from the state's workforce.
Democratic lawmakers including Gregoire are now trying to make a case for buffering the blow to human services and higher education with higher taxes.
That's a risky reflex in a recessionary period. Lawmakers should be looking for any way they can to avoid delaying the state's recovery — and that means they should be looking at the unions.
We say "unions" because some state employees would be willing to make the same sacrifices that private sector workers have. They understand that the people they serve are suffering — and that holding onto a job during the worst economic decline since the Great Depression is no small feat.
To read the complete editorial, visit The (Tacoma) News Tribune.