Chandler calls House Democrat budget a negotiating position, not a credible budget

 'As in years past, this budget relies on tax increases that House Democrats will refuse to vote on,' says Chandler
Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, and ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement today regarding the passage of the House Democrat budget proposal:

“I appreciate the work done on the House Democrat budget. However, my caucus couldn't support this budget as written for a number of reasons. I think we should view this budget more as a negotiating position rather than an attempt at a credible spending plan.

“As in years past, this budget relies on tax increases that House Democrats will refuse to vote on. These tax increases include ones rejected by voters, like the tax on bottled water, or other tax increases rejected by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.

“An overreliance on our state's rainy day fund for non-emergency spending is also of great concern. The budget stabilization account is for emergencies only. The Oso Landslide and Carlton Complex fires from two years ago were legitimate emergencies. The wildfires from last summer that burned over a million acres were legitimate emergencies. Creating new programs or policies – no matter how noble one thinks of those issues – doesn't meet the definition of emergency as required by the state's rainy day fund.

“This budget also excludes projected expenditures for the remaining phase-in for K-3 class-size reduction. This is something that goes against what House Democrats agreed to last year and without using this financial gimmick, their budget would not balance in the four-year outlook as required by current law.

“A supplemental budget should be used for small, minor adjustments to our two-year spending plan and for emergency spending, not as an opportunity to grow the size and scope of state government. Our revenue forecast just showed the first downward trend in revenue collections for the first time in two years. This should remind us of the unknown nature of our state and national economies. We're seeing other states experience recession-like economic activity. Instead of spending every dollar in the bank and dipping into our emergency reserves, we should be prudent so as not to put essential state services at risk in the future.

“I look forward to a more balanced and fiscally-responsible budget coming from the state Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. I trust we can find a bipartisan solution similar to the unprecedented budget that was passed and signed into law less than eight months ago.”

There are currently 50 Democrats and 48 Republicans serving in the state House.  Legislation requires 50 votes to pass the state House.  With one of the House Democrat members absent because of a health-related emergency, and with a party-line vote expected, Democrats lacked the final vote to pass their budget.

Chandler honored a long-standing House tradition by changing his vote from a “no” to a “yes” to move the budget process along.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov