Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered this comment about Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget proposal, expected to be released Thursday:
“In a year when a single political party will control the House, the Senate and the governor’s mansion, the governor’s budget proposal will set the tone for everything that follows. The first thing to look for is whether the governor will disregard the state’s four-year balanced-budget law. We’re hearing rumors, and we certainly hope they aren’t true.
“This law, passed by lawmakers of both parties in 2012, is the one thing that stands in the way of the irresponsible spending we saw the last time our colleagues controlled the Legislature. The law prevents lawmakers from passing unsustainable budgets that will force tax increases in the future. This practice was the single biggest reason the Legislature found itself in crisis mode year after year, and it is why we used to start virtually every session with an artificial ‘deficit.’ This ended when we passed the 4-year balanced-budget law. It requires that we have the money to pay for new spending, both now and four years in the future, and it forces lawmakers to think twice before they whip open the checkbook.
“It would be terrible if the governor’s first act, under the new majority, is to suggest we throw fiscal responsibility to the wind.
“There are only two things we could imagine that would be worse. One would be for the governor to, once again, call for an income tax on capital gains, which would devastate the tech industry and lead inevitably to an income tax all of us would pay. Or for the governor to use global warming as an excuse for a carbon tax that would do little for the environment, but would punish struggling families with higher gas and electricity prices and make it harder for them to find jobs.”