Jay Inslee has a response to all his budget critics: “Buck up!” Our green governor proposed historic spending and tax increases, but cannot seem to understand the reaction of those who received his agenda with a general lack of enthusiasm.
As Shift reported, Inslee’s $39 billion budget includes a spending increase of 15.4%, new taxes to the tune of $1.5 billion and a generous dipping ($600 million) into the state’s revenue reserves—including $450 million from the state’s rainy day fund. Inslee also packed his most wished-for items into his budget, complete with a cap-and-tax scheme, a fuel mandate and pricey state employee pay hikes costing a whopping $1.5 billion. One could say that our green governor wants to use our state’s rainy day fund to make it rain cash on some of his biggest campaign donors, state employee labor unions.
Yet, Inslee wants you to “Buck up!” Sit back, and watch your hard-earned tax dollars go toward ensuring Inslee is able to reward his campaign donors, with a budget that does not meet its legal obligations.
By state law, the governor of Washington must present a viable budget plan—a budget that fits within existing tax and spending rules. Inslee’s budget does not. His proposed spending exceeds the state spending limit. In order to pass his unprecedented and “solidly liberal agenda,” the Legislature would have to first change the law.
Considering that even some Democrats met Inslee’s budget with skepticism, the possibility of changing the law to pass Inslee’s budget is slim to none. Democrat Rep. Ross Hunter, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, told the Seattle Times that “it will be politically hard to find enough votes to suspend I-1351 and spend some of the state’s reserves.” He said, “I need 60 percent (of votes in the Legislature) to use the rainy-day fund… I need two-thirds to modify 1351. Those are going to be hard.” Hunter, rather generously, went on to call Inslee’s budget a “starting point.”
Notice, he left out the word “good.”