State Senate Republicans and the state House Democrats have hit a major roadblock in budget negotiations. According to the Seattle Times, Senate Republican leaders issued an ultimatum to their House Democrat counterparts on Wednesday. Republicans declared they would not participate in further budget talks until Democrats hold a vote on the state capital gains income tax and business tax assumed in their House budget.
Democrat House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said he was “stunned” by Republicans’ demand. He claimed it “sidetracked budget discussions that had been progressing in meetings the previous two days.” Rep. Ross Hunter called the Republican demands “ridiculous.” He accused Republicans of “trying to force House members into ‘a gotcha vote’ on taxes.”
Of course, that’s not the whole truth. Republicans leaders “offered to compromise on some spending to bring sides closer” during budget negotiations. However, Democrats’ continued refusal to pass a complete budget plan—a budget that actually pays for itself—made it impossible to continue talks. Ultimately, it’s up to Democrats to prove they have the votes for new taxes.
After all, is it really so “ridiculous” for Democrats to vote on bills vital to their budget plan… which they passed out of the House?
Quick to express their outrage, Democrats are also forgetting a budget ultimatum recently issued by their party leader, Jay Inslee. Last week, Inslee managed to add to budget tensions when he made certain demands to legislators during a closed-door session. Republican lawmakers say Inslee threatened to veto any budget bill that does not raise taxes.
Inslee’s demands include fully funding state employee pay raises, which he negotiated with union executives in secret at a cost of nearly $1 billion to taxpayers. Additionally, Inslee said he would not “accept borrowing from the state capital budget, vague “efficiency” savings, nor sign any tax cut” until his demand is met.
Something tells us that voters prefer Senate Republicans’ ultimatum to Inslee’s ultimatum. Just as they prefer Senate Republicans’ no new taxes budget to House Democrats’ spending plan.
The legislative session is scheduled to end on April 26. As Shift previously stated, if Democrats continue to refuse to do their jobs and get the people’s business done, this legislative session will go into extra innings – costing taxpayers even more money.