- House Democrats could not manage to produce their budget on time.
Prior to the budget roll out, GOP state Sen. Andy Hill suggested that House Democrats not neglect the agreed upon deadline of March 23 if they wanted to wrap-up session on time. As Shift pointed out, it’s difficult to understand why Democrats could not —at the very least— introduce their budget in a timely manner since it borrows so heavily from Jay Inslee’s draft budget released in December. But, under the leadership of Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, they could not even do that. Instead, Rep. Hunter and his fellow Democrats took 98 days from the day Inslee introduced his plan to basically crib his notes and propose their imitation budget.
- House Democrats don’t have any plans to pass a complete budget.
When Democrat House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan was asked if Democrats would vote on bills to raise taxes to cover the spending in their proposed budget, he admitted that they would not. Sullivan’s comments came after he called the House budget “courageous.” Of course, it’s hardly courageous of Democrats to propose and pass a 15% increase in the state budget over the next two years, but not actually vote on their tax proposals needed to pay for their budget-busting plan. After Democrats’ released their budget, GOP state Sen. Andy Hill reminded House Democrats that a complete budget requires them to balance their proposed spending with revenue.
- The House Democrats’ budget raises taxes by $1.5 billion in 2015-17 and by more than $13 billion over 10 years.
House Democrats followed the example set by Jay Inslee and introduced a nearly $39 billion budget based on record-breaking tax hikes and spending increases. They chose to ignore the fact that our state will receive more than $3 billion in new revenue over the next budget cycle, and instead proposed billions in new taxes and more than $5 billion in spending increases.
Specifically, Democrats made a new state capital gains income tax, at a 5% rate, the “centerpiece” of their budget. As Shift has reported, the state capital gains income tax is an extremely unreliable source of revenue – and it’s an unconstitutional income tax to boot. The history of the state capital gains income tax in other states proves its volatility, and review of Supreme Court rulings in our state show that income taxes are not allowed under our constitution.
California’s Legislative Budget Office (LAO) advised that the best way for that state to limit exposure to “to the kind of extreme revenue volatility experienced in the past decade would be to reduce its dependence on the source of income that produced the greatest portion of this revenue volatility—namely, capital gains…” Standard & Poor’s warned that state tax revenue trends have become “volatile as progressive tax states have come to rely more heavily on capital gains from top earners.”
- The House Democrats’ budget does not meet the state’s basic constitutional duty – fund education first.
Democrats justify their unprecedented tax hikes by falsely claiming the new taxes are needed to meet the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision to fully fund our public schools. That’s simply not true, as GOP state Sen. Andy Hill pointed out. Following the House Democrats introduction of their budget, Hill cited the state’s projected revenue increase of $3 billion over the next two years, and re-iterated what he has said from the beginning: “Tax increases should be the last resort, not the first response.”
What Democrats won’t tell the public is that they need new taxes not to meet their constitutional obligation and appropriately fund our schools, but to reward their million-dollar campaign donors—including the Washington Education Association (WEA), the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) and various Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals — with nearly a billion dollars in pay raises.
- The House Democrats’ budget is a lesson in using a pay-to-play strategy.
House Democrats want to funnel $987 million in hard-earned taxpayer dollars to their big labor million-dollar campaign supporters. As Shift reported, the only state employee union that would face funding cuts in the House Democrats’ budget is the Public School Employees (PSE)—school janitors, lunchroom personnel, bus drivers, etc. A quick look into the PSE’s past campaign donations provides the explanation why Democrats singled its members out for cuts.
Recipients of PSE’s contributions include the Washington State Republican Party and various Republican candidates for state Legislature. The PSE even dared to break away with other unions and endorse Rob McKenna for governor in 2012. Simply put, the PSE does not fit into Democrats’ pay-to-play mold. That makes them susceptible to punishment.