Democrats who have been desperately searching for a reason to raise taxes despite growing state revenue may have found a new—and poor—excuse to renew their call for more money.
According to the February estimates released by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, the state’s projected revenue collections dropped $67 million for the current two-year budget. The council’s executive director attributed the decline to a “slowing global economy and slower GDP growth in the U.S.”
State Rep. Terry Nealey, who serves as the House Republican representative on the council and ranking member of the House Finance Committee, released a statement in an attempt to get ahead of the expected Democrat reaction. Nealey assured the public that “light adjustments and changes in the economy are normal.”
He also put the downturn in perspective. Nealey stated, “A $67 million reduction in the current biennium compared to the November forecast is very small, compared to a $38 billion budget.”
Nealey then went on to warn against pursuing certain lefty policies that Democrats love to push. He stated,
“My advice to legislative colleagues in response to this forecast is that we should avoid knee-jerk reactions, such as using it as an excuse to raise taxes, which would hurt our economy even more. We need to be cautious going forward and mindful against adding new programs or expanding government. We need to stay the course on the budget and continue to add to the Rainy Day Fund so that if we do hit a crisis down the road, we’ve got a cushion. Let’s also continue to work for policies that strengthen the economy and put people back to work, which is the best way to help our future revenue forecasts.”
Sounds like sensible advice. The question is, will Democrats listen?