Key Republican state senators commented on Jay Inslee’s $39 billion budget at the Washington Policy Center’s Solutions Summit Conference this week. One of those senators included Sen. Andy Hill, who will have the opportunity to write the Senate’s version of the state budget after House Democrats submit their ideas first this legislative cycle.
Sen. Hill demonstrated he is up to the task, talking truth to power and challenging Inslee and other Democrats on their insistence that Washington state if facing a budget crisis that necessitates a historic increase in taxes. Hill pointed out that Inslee’s plan is “relying on scare tactics and a myth that the state was facing a massive budget deficit in his argument for new taxes.” According to Hill, Inslee is leading Washingtonians to believe “there’s some kind of Armageddon when it comes to the state budget.
Hill then laid out the facts that “Washington state expects to take in $3 billion in revenue above its current budget of $33.8 billion. It’s forecasted to have $37.2 billion available without the tax increases.” Additionally, the state’s 2015-17 costs are projected at $36.2 billion. Hill said, “If we want to make additional investments, that’s part of the legislative process. We do not have a brutal deficit. It’s a false choice to say you raise taxes or make cuts. New taxes should be the last resort.”
The Washington State Wire writes that the “increase in the upcoming budget cycle covers pension cost increases, added caseloads, debt service as well as mental health funding required by a state Supreme Court ruling, paying to fight forest fires last summer, and others.” That leaves $1 billion left over with which, Hill said, “the state could address $750 million in McCleary costs that the Legislature has to address this session.” The left over revenue could then be used to “address the pay increases for state teachers, which is statutorily required under a voter-approved initiative and would cost $235 million.”
Hill’s summary—we await his actual budget proposal after the House puts its budget out—differs from Inslee’s plan in a key way. It does not include the heavy burden of state employee pay hikes on taxpayers—the result of Inslee’s secret negotiations with state employee unions. And it assumes the Legislature will take steps to overturn the Washington Education Association’s (WEA) money-grab initiative, I-1351—perhaps by handing it back to voters with an unattractive, but realistic funding mechanism attached.
All in all, we’re thankful to have a voice of reason in the mix. Inslee’s ridiculous budget, complete with its broken promises, historic spending increases and unprecedented tax hikes, is likely now confined by the consent of both parties to a wastebasket outside his office, while the legislators get down to serious work.
I like this guy. Keep shouting Mr. Hill!
Well what we need is more work in our State.The G.M.A. has been a real huge stumbling block to delovping land for busisness purpose.That act may have been needed in King county but not for the state.Only the Democrates want laws that restrict busisness from coming into our state.It’s not our taxes that do it it’s the regulations that do.Get rid of some of them and things will boom around here.
David Dupper says
If 100000 more people voted for Rob McKenna back in 2012 we wouldn’t have this idiot in the governors mansion