Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler offered this statement about the supplemental operating budget proposed today by the Senate. The update would increase state spending in the 2015-17 operating budget by a modest $49 million.
“Governor Inslee wants to raise taxes and raid the state’s rainy-day fund. The Democrats who control the House of Representatives want to raise taxes and raid the state’s rainy-day fund. Only the Senate’s budget avoids tax increases and protects the rainy-day fund. That is a top priority for our Majority Coalition Caucus, and the plan we put on the table today continues to build on the remarkable record of results we have achieved in four years of leading the Senate.
“The MCC has again shown it is possible to provide for education and state government’s other priorities without outspending the available revenue. By continuing to keep tax rates stable for families and employers, we encourage job growth in all corners of the state, not just the Puget Sound area, which puts Washington in the best position to continue recovering from the Great Recession.
“A supplemental budget is supposed to make adjustments in response to emerging needs and caseload shifts and one-time opportunities that could not have been foreseen when the two-year budget was approved. The governor and House leaders are wrong to use their budget proposals as a way to go after families and employers for more tax dollars and raid the rainy-day fund to support new spending.
“It is disappointing that the House’s budget proposal also takes aim at the Washington-only law requiring the two-year budget to balance across four years, not just two. This unique policy has brought stability by forcing budget writers to account for the long-term effects of their decisions – meaning beyond the next election. The House’s chief budget writer supported the creation of that law in 2012, before he started wearing that hat. Now he refers to the law as ‘voodoo economics’ and wants to kneecap it while using a half-dozen tax increases to balance the House budget proposal. They include a bottled-water tax that was already rejected by voters and a sales-tax increase that would devastate retailers in our border counties, in legislative districts served primarily by Republicans.
“This legislative session is scheduled to end two weeks from tomorrow; let’s work toward a budget agreement that is an update, not a rewrite, without the empty posturing about new taxes that dragged the Legislature through three overtimes this past year.”
Schoesler is a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which is holding a public hearing on the Senate’s supplemental operating-budget and capital-budget proposals today; it may be viewed online at www.TVW.org.