Schoesler: Democrat budget wastes opportunity of $2.3 billion surplus

Olympia…Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, offered this comment about the 2018 supplemental operating budget, which was developed without bipartisan input and was presented to the Legislature for a vote this afternoon – on the last day of the legislative session:

“I’ve been in the Legislature for 26 years and in that time, I’ve seen three recessions, as well as wildfires, a major earthquake and other emergencies. At one point, state government was almost $10 billion in the hole, which left it empty-handed to respond to those kinds of situations. In that important context, this partisan budget is shortsighted. We could have done better by the people of Washington.

“The new Democrat majority did not save in this budget for the rainy day that is sure to come.  Its members knowingly hijacked $700 million that should have gone into the rainy-day fund. The money won’t be there when the inevitable occurs, and that’s outrageously irresponsible. It wastes the opportunity that seemed obvious to our side with a $2.3 billion surplus.”

“During the five years that Republicans had the majority in the Senate, the budget process was strongly bipartisan. This was difficult at times, but it meant that the final product was something that really represented all of Washington. This year, in contrast, our lead budget writer couldn’t even brief us on the content of the budget until the last minute because Democrats wouldn’t allow him in the room when they wrote it. That’s not good governing.

“The majority budget chair said today that writing the budget may be even harder when one party has the majority. We could have helped with that.”