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CONTACT: Brendon Wold, Deputy Communications Director - (360) 786-7698
Rep. Gary Alexander - (360) 786-7824

Extremely partisan House Democrat budget sets up showdown with bipartisan Senate

‘I look forward to working with members from both parties and both chambers so the final budget that passes the Legislature looks nothing like what we saw before us today,’ says Alexander

A week ago, the Washington State Senate passed a bipartisan budget that allocated $300 million for higher education, reduced tuition rates for students, spent over a billion dollars on K-12 education to implement the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, and did not raise taxes.  On the heels of the Senate’s cooperative atmosphere, many members in the House of Representatives were hoping for an opportunity to work together and produce a bipartisan House budget.  However, that didn’t happen.
House Democrats today passed a budget with no Republican votes.  Their tax and spending proposal includes $1.3 billion in tax increases, raids the state’s rainy day fund and leaves just over $300 million in reserves.
Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and budget leader for House Republicans, called the proposal “extremely partisan.”
“We indicated early on in the budget process that we were willing to work with the majority party in the House to implement our ideas for cost savings, prioritizing services and reforming state government so that tax increases on our citizens would not be needed,” said Alexander.  “Instead, the budget that passed today was crafted in the echo chamber of one-party control.  It’s a budget that can’t say ‘no’ to special interests and a growing state bureaucracy, but can’t say ‘yes’ to ideas and thoughtful solutions from the other side of the aisle.
“The bipartisan Senate budget included ideas from both parties and, in the end, had unprecedented support,” continued Alexander.  “The Senators that voted for the budget represented 30 of the 49 legislative districts, 38 of the 39 counties and over 4.2 million citizens.
“It’s unfortunate the budget passed today by House Democrats included no Republican support.  That wasn’t necessary.  We could have avoided the partisanship we saw this evening if the other side had been willing to take tax increases off the table and commit to the state living within its means,” said Alexander.
House Republicans offered several amendments on the House floor to try and emphasis jobs for Washington citizens and economic recovery for our state.
“Our focus for the last several years has been to try and implement policies that help the private sector create jobs,” Alexander said.  “Our regulatory reform amendments, including 90-day permits and rule moratoriums for state agencies, would have at least provided some certainty for employers in our state.  But the majority party seems more interested in taking more money from taxpayers than giving more freedom and certainty to the job creators in Washington.”
Alexander also stressed the need to leave more money in reserves.
“With only a few hundred million dollars left in reserves, we’re gambling on the future economic vitality of our state,” said Alexander.  “Boeing is investing out of state; the federal government is taking more tax dollars; national and international scenarios continue to threaten our state’s fragile economic recovery.  With little to no buffer, it won’t take much of a blip in the state’s revenue collections and lawmakers will be called back to Olympia for another special session to clean up the mess.  It’s not responsible budgeting.  There was – and continues to be – a better way.
“I look forward to working with members from both parties and both chambers so the final budget that passes the Legislature looks nothing like what we saw before us today,” Alexander concluded.
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Washington State House Republican Communications
455 John L. O'Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600