Statements from Walsh and Nealey on House supplemental operating budget

The House of Representatives voted late Friday night, 55-43, to approve a supplemental operating budget measure that relies on nearly $1 billion of tax and fee increases, as well as anticipated federal stimulus dollars to close a $2.7 billion deficit.

Reps. Terry Nealey and Maureen Walsh voted against Senate Bill 6444 and issued the following statements:

“People are really making sacrifices right now, but this budget asks for more while it requires very little sacrifice from government. I’m disappointed the Legislature bypassed this opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to truly reform and restructure our government to address the needs of citizens at a better value to taxpayers. This two-year budget will reduce spending by just four percent from the previous budget when times were good,” said Walsh, R-Walla Walla. “What we need right now is jobs, not new taxes. We brought forward several ideas to help retain and create jobs to get our state back on the right track, but these proposals were rejected. I’m afraid employers will immediately turn away from Washington and we will lose potential economic growth that we so desperately need to get us out of this recession.”

“The overspending in this budget is a big disappointment. It’s one of the main reasons I ran for office, because I was so concerned about the direction the Legislature was heading with this budget mess. I fought where I felt I could be effective in arguing that we have to think of the consequences, and refrain from adding more programs and spending more money,” said Nealey, R-Dayton. “Unfortunately, the majority party is primarily interested in raising taxes and not in reforming government. They’re not making the necessary cuts to get spending under control and they have no interest in listening to our solutions. Instead, it’s business as usual in Olympia as they propose the largest tax increase in the history of this state – nearly a billion dollars. I’m very concerned about how these tax hikes would impact businesses, farmers and families in Southeast Washington and across the state.”

The $31 billion House supplemental operating budget seeks to close the shortfall through:

  • new tax increases ($857 million);
  • federal funds ($641 million);
  • state fund transfers ($236 million);
  • spending reductions ($653 million); and
  • draining the state rainy day fund ($229 million).

The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration. The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 11.

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