House Republican leaders issue statements on passage of state operating budget
With one day left to go in the 30-day special session called by Gov. Gregoire, Democrats in the House of Representatives today approved a $30.5 billion supplemental operating budget. The proposal decreases spending by less than one percent from last year's budget. It seeks to close the state's $2.8 billion budget shortfall through:
- $757 million in new tax increases;
- $661 million in spending reductions;
- $633 million federal funds;
- $328 million in transfers from other accounts;
- $256 million in reserves, including depletion of the rainy-day fund; and
- $178 million in cost shifts to other accounts.
House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, and Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, released the following statements:
Rep. Richard DeBolt:
“The budget passed today by the Democratic majority is the epitome of all that is wrong in Olympia. It prioritizes state government over struggling families and employers. The message is clear: the Democratic leadership in Olympia wants to raise taxes on people without a job, so they can give those with a job a pay increase and Cadillac health benefits. This budget will hurt our local communities especially hard with the closure of Maple Lane School.”
Rep. Gary Alexander:
“We've been here before. Once again, there is no sunshine on this budget bill as we received it just hours before being expected to vote on it. Once again, Republicans were not part of the solution. And, once again, the majority party has put forth a budget that is completely unsustainable by using budget gimmicks, fund transfers, cost shifts, and one-time money, along with new taxes, to make up the state's $2.8 billion shortfall.
“In fact, seventy-five percent of their 'budget solution' is comprised of either new and increased taxes or one-time money. While families and employers change the way they do business by making difficult cuts to their own spending, state government spending in this budget is reduced by less than one percent! This type of solution ignores the reality that the size and scope of state government has grown much too fast, and I expect to see another budget shortfall possibly in the neighborhood of $5 billion next session. Only next year, we won't have any more federal government bailout money.
“I also see this budget as a job-killer as it closes down Maple Lane. This facility is not the cause of our bloated government. We need to look at the entitlements and programs added during the last five years when state spending rose at unprecedented rates. With unemployment in our area currently running around 15 percent, our local economies cannot afford to lose additional jobs at Maple Lane.
“With this budget, we've shifted from trying to define the priorities of government, to government itself being the priority. Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of spending other people's money. The same could be said about this budget.”
For more information, contact: Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, (360) 786-7698.
###Washington State House Republican Communications