House Republicans say partial budget solution better than no solution – but not much better
House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt and Rep. Gary Alexander, the lead budget negotiator for Republicans, issued the following statements regarding today's vote in the state House of Representatives to pass a partial budget solution to the state's projected $2 billion shortfall:
Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia
“We came here to solve a $2 billion problem but we're leaving with a solution of up to $500 million. We've known about this projected budget shortfall since the September revenue forecast, yet in the three months since then, we've only managed to address about a quarter of the problem.
“The longer we wait to fully address our spending imbalance, the more difficult it will be. What we've done here today is the easy part. The hard work is still to come. Budget writers are once again pushing the problem down the road. I'm not sure what the majority party thinks will be different between now and the 2012 session. The state budget will still be out of balance; many Washingtonians will still be looking for work; and taxpayers' appetite for more taxes will not have changed.
“We still haven't seen any true reform efforts to make state government run more effectively and efficiently. We still haven't seen an 'all priorities' budget proposal. We still haven't addressed the long-term stability of our budget and we've seen no sense of urgency to put Washington back on the path to fiscal health. Until this 'business as usual' attitude changes, the citizens' trust in their government will remain dubious at best.
“I'm supporting this partial budget because it does represent a very small first step and it's better than doing nothing – but not much better. And, I'm hopeful that this bipartisan effort will lead to long-term sustainability in future budgets.”
Rep. Richard DeBolt, R- Chehalis
“If this partial budget is the end result, I'd have to call the special session a complete failure. A failure in leadership from the majority party; a failure to recognize the economic realities being faced by families and employers around the state; and a failure to understand the fundamental principles that will help get Washingtonians back to work and our state back on track.
“The actions we took today could have been done in a one-day session. Instead, the majority party spent taxpayer dollars we don't have to sit around and wring their hands in consternation while running opinion polls on every tax proposal under the sun. The fact is, the problem we'll face in January at the start of the 2012 legislative session will look very similar to the problem we should have addressed today. And, by pushing the problem out to next year, the true casualty of the majority party's inability to lead will be the individuals and families desperate for work.
“At the start of this process, we once again presented to the governor our list of reforms designed to spur the private sector and get Washington working again. She told us to wait until next session. She said solving the state's budget woes was priority number one for the special session and that we would get a chance to address the 'jobs' issue in January. My fear is that since they didn't fully address our state's budget problem during the special session, any hope of meaningful legislation to help get folks working again will fall by the wayside.
“The majority party passed this partial budget solution because they felt they needed to show something – to show some product of the time and money we've spent in Olympia. Instead, they've shown the public what one-party rule beholden to special interests. The Legislature's unwillingness to adopt meaningful government reform continues to fail the people of Washington state.”
For more information, contact Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7698
###Washington State House Republican Communications