Yesterday, after overcoming hours of delay tactics by Senate Democrats, the Republican-controlled state Senate passed a complete bi-partisan budget. That means the Senate approved all the accompanying bills necessary to deliver a ready-to-implement budget, including a bill to make changes on the so-called reduced class size initiative, I-1351.
As Shift reported, the Republican budget proposal provides funding to reduce class-sizes for Kindergarten through the 3rd grade, altering Initiative 1351’s push for class-size reductions. The change is in-line with research that shows reducing class sizes to the extent demanded by I-1351 has no impact after the 3rd grade – though it would create more dues-paying WEA members, which is the union’s primary goal. Unlike the Democrats’ plan, Republicans actually deal with I-1351 by sending the change back to voters for a referendum vote. And, unlike House Democrats, Senate Republicans actually passed the bill—along with their budget—to make it happen.
The Republican-controlled state Senate is the only chamber in the Legislature to deliver a bi-partisan budget that will actually get the people’s business done. In marked contrast, Democrats failed to pass the funding bills required to make their budget viable when they passed their spending plan last week.
House Democrats are refusing to even bring up for a vote bills that would pay for their spending increase of $5.2 billion, a more than 15% hike from the previous budget cycle. They are cashing in checks for money our state does not have.
Democrats have to even vote for their state capital gains income tax proposal—the very measure the far-left has touted as the “centerpiece” of the state House’s budget. Democrats have claimed the notoriously volatile form of taxation is needed to meet the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision to fully fund our public schools. Of course, they really need a state capital gains income tax to reward their million-dollar campaign donors—the Washington Education Association, the Washington Federation of State Employees and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—with $867 million in pay raises, a result of Jay Inslee’s secret negotiations with the top union executives who supported his campaign.
What is missing from most media reports is that House Democrats have failed to pass a budget – instead they have just voted on a spending wish list. They clearly do not have the votes to raise taxes, thus Senate Republicans will be hard-pressed to take the liberal spending plan seriously. Yet, the hypocritical Democrats accuse Republicans of relying on budget gimmicks.
The 2015 legislative session is scheduled to conclude on April 26th. If Democrats do not pick up the pace, if they continue to refuse to do their jobs and get the people’s business done, this legislative session will drag on.