Statement from Rep. Jay Rodne on today’s passage of House Democrats’ supplemental operating budget
“This is a disappointing day for all of us who expect state government to rein in its spending like responsible families and small businesses have had to do in these tough times. This budget raises taxes by nearly $1 billion, while failing to reform state government or the budget process in any meaningful way. This approach will only delay our state's economic recovery and lead to worse budget problems.
“I stand with those who believe in sustainable budgeting practices. The way to accomplish this is to prioritize state government by focusing on education, public safety and the protection of our most vulnerable citizens. As an example of the misplaced priorities in this budget, the majority's budget makes cuts to education funding while giving state employee pay increases. It is a prime example of what's wrong with the Olympia mind set and it highlights how 'business as usual' in Olympia is clearly not in the best interest of our state.
“The best way to create a sustainable budget is to preserve and create jobs. The way to do this is to reduce our tax burden, rein in government spending, and help our small businesses by enacting meaningful regulatory relief and reforming our workers' compensation and unemployment insurance systems. Now is the time to improve our business climate and finally address the needs of our small businesses.”
- The operating budget is on a two-year cycle, with midcourse adjustments made in even-numbered years through a supplemental version. It is facing a $2.7 billion shortfall.
- The operating budget is the largest of the state's three main budgets, along with the capital and transportation budgets, and pays for K-12 schools, corrections and public safety programs, government and judicial operations, higher education, and health and human services.
- The House Democrats' $30.678 billion supplemental operating budget has $857 million in new tax increases.
- House Democrats seek to close the $2.7 billion budget shortfall through:
- new tax increases ($857 million);
- federal funds ($641 million);
- state fund transfers ($236 million);
- spending cuts ($653 million); and
- the state rainy day fund ($229 million).
- With the recent suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act (Initiative 960) through Senate Bill 6130, Democrats only need a simple majority (50 state representatives and 25 state senators) to increase taxes. Not one Republican in either the House or Senate voted for Senate Bill 6130.
- The state had a $1.8 billion surplus in the 2005-07 budget cycle, driven by extraordinary real estate excise tax revenue. State spending grew by 33 percent, or more than $8 billion, from 2005 to 2008.
- The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 11.
###Washington State House Republican Communications