Lawmakers have entered into a second special session after failing to pass a budget during the regular 105-day session and the first 30-day special session. As Shift has reported, state House Democrats just won’t give up on their historic tax hike proposals. There are three big hitches to Democrats passing their tax hikes, according to the News Tribune.
“No. 1: Unexpected money has been pouring into state coffers since February. The biggest windfall arrived on May 11, when state economists projected an additional $400 million in revenues through mid-2017.
“No. 2: Washingtonians elected a Republican majority to the state Senate in November.
“No. 3: So far, House Democrats haven’t made a political commitment — through a floor vote — to a specific tax package.”
As Shift has repeated time and time again, increased taxes are not needed to meet our state’s funding obligations, especially given the sizeable new revenue projections – over a billion new dollars have been projected since December. Additionally, given the fact that Republicans have control in the state Senate, Democrats cannot expect to get whatever they want, as they are used to doing. They must compromise. Finally, if House Democrats believe in their historic tax increases, they would have the political courage to actually vote on them.
The state Legislature will be able to adjourn—and avoid a state government shutdown—once House Democrats realize their tax increases are unnecessary and work with Senate Republicans to pass a state budget. The News Tribune,
“But House leaders will have to recognize that outside the 206 area code, there’s no groundswell of public support for higher taxes.”
As Shift has done and will continue to do, the News Tribune goes on to call on Jay Inslee to do his job and act as a leader rather than an obstructer during the budget negotiation process. That means not threatening to veto any budget that does not raise taxes. The News Tribune,
“Inslee’s past interventions haven’t gone over well with Republican leaders, who speak with nostalgia of his Democratic predecessor, Chris Gregoire. Gregoire was a master at proposing tradeoffs, identifying common ground and brokering agreements that gave all sides enough of what they wanted.
“Republicans don’t view Inslee as a broker. Visiting The News Tribune on Thursday, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, described the governor as a ‘cheerleader for the left’ in budget talks.
“Those talks resume Monday. If the governor aspires to be a genuine mediator and deal-maker, this would be a good time to demonstrate it. Suggestion: Don’t start things off by handing down a tax ultimatum.”