House Republican leaders urge Democrats to act quickly to solve state’s continuing budget shortfall and to get Washingtonians working again

The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council adopted an updated revenue forecast from the state’s chief economist, Dr. Arun Raha, showing the state is expected to take in about $1.4 billion less revenue for the 2011-13 biennium, resulting in an estimated $1.27 billion budget shortfall.

“The last revenue forecast ate up most of the $745 million in reserves that were built into the budget the governor signed this spring,” said House Republican budget leader, Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia.  “With only about $160 million left in our reserves as of today, it didn’t take much of a down swing in our revenue forecast to once again put our state’s budget situation in serious trouble.”

Alexander, the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, is urging majority party budget writers to start working immediately on a potential solution to the state’s continuing budget shortfall.

“The sooner we act, the better,” Alexander said.  “The state spends about $40 million a day, so each day we wait only adds to the problem.  We need to be looking at entire programs and services for efficiencies.  Things like the Basic Health Plan, General Assistance Unemployable and health care for undocumented children are going to come under pretty close scrutiny.

“But the main focus now should be early action,” Alexander continued.  “We can’t wait three months or more until the next legislative session in 2012.  Budget leaders in both houses and both chambers need to spend a few days hammering out a solution and then meet for a quick one- or two-day session.  We need to deal with this now, quickly, so that next session we can focus our efforts on enacting policies that stimulate the private sector to create more jobs.  We can’t get so lost in the numbers game that we forget that people want to work – they need jobs.”

House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, agreed with Alexander and expressed frustration over the majority party’s lack of action on several recent proposals to help create more private-sector jobs in Washington.

“The issue being ignored by majority lawmakers is that our path to fiscal stability is to get Washington working again,” DeBolt said.  “House Republicans have pressed for a package of bills aimed at unleashing the private sector to create jobs.  Many of the ideas, like faster permitting, wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime.  Just a change in the culture of government that is standing in the way of badly needed job growth.  We need to get people back to work to alleviate the demand on government services and create revenue through economic expansion, not tax increases.”

Legislation introduced and supported by House Republicans last session include:

  • House Bill 1672 – would have doubled the small business B&O tax credit (died in House Ways and Means);
  • House Bill 1388 – would have delayed expensive new state energy code requirements (died in House Technology, Energy and Communications);
  • House Bill 1592 – would have suspended the Growth Management Act in counties and cities with 7 percent unemployment rate (died in House Local Government);
  • House Bill 1961 – would have required permits to be granted or denied within 90 days (died in House State Government and Tribal Affairs);
  • House Bill 1855 – would make unfunded mandates on schools and local governments optional (died in House Local Government);
  • House Bill 1156 – would have suspended new rule making until 2014 (died in House State Government and Tribal Affairs).



For more information, contact Lisa Fenton, Communications Director, House Republican Caucus at (360) 786-7728, or

Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, (360) 786-7698.


Washington State House Republican Communications