House Republican leaders say governor’s tax proposal breaks faith with voters and job-seekers
Governor Chris Gregoire released her proposed 2012 supplemental budget today that reduces General Fund spending by about $1.7 billion, leaves $602 million in reserves and calls for a referendum to raise the state sales tax rate by 0.5 percent until July1, 2015.
“Education, public safety and services for the most vulnerable are our highest priorities and should not be held hostage in an attempt to extort a tax increase out of the voters. How can we ask taxpayers who don’t have jobs to pay higher taxes to state agencies that are still giving pay raises to some employees? Why are we raising taxes to avoid a 20 percent cut to senior services when the Department of Ecology has been spared any significant cuts? The governor’s plan reflects a clear difference in budget priorities compared to House Republicans.
“By establishing priorities of government and unleashing the power of the private sector to create jobs, we believe we can balance the state budget without raising taxes on families when they can least afford it.
“For too long the Legislature has ignored the factors that are contributing to the challenges facing our state. House Republicans believe any meaningful budget solution must include reforms that will free up employers who are ready to put people to work and get government out of the way of badly needed economic development. A healthy economy will enhance the prosperity of working families, reduce the number of people who need state funded services, and generate more revenue for state and local government. We have presented the governor with our job creation proposals and we are disappointed she has chosen to raise taxes instead of creating revenue through private-sector job growth. We need to get Washington working again.”
“The governor’s tax proposal seeks to raise taxes on those without jobs to continue to fund a state government that has yet to restructure and prioritize. The public should be outraged that the things she proposes to ‘buy back’ via increased taxes are the very fundamental priorities of state government – priorities that the House Republican budget proposal took into account last session: education, public safety and protecting the most vulnerable.
“I realize that fixing our state’s budget situation is a daunting task. But we shouldn’t be looking to increase taxes, we should be looking at increasing tax payers. We should be implementing policies that help the private sector create more jobs. This should have been a priority over the last few years, yet here we are once again saying we’ll get to it next year. Next year will be too late for the thousands of folks looking for work today.
“By relying on a referendum vote to increase taxes instead of prioritizing government services and funding those priorities, the governor is setting us up for another special session next spring. The voters have said time and time again that they want state government to restructure and live within its means, just like families across our state have had to. If she writes a state budget that depends on voter approval of tax increases – a concept that is apparently gaining steam within the majority party in Olympia – what happens when the voters once again reject higher taxes? The state’s budget will be out of balance and the Legislature will once again meet in a special session costing taxpayers thousands of dollars that we don’t have.
“This is the wrong move for our state and our citizens. We need a permanent budget solution that involves reforming, resetting and restructuring state government.”
For more information, contact Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7698
###Washington State House Republican Communications