Chandler calls House Democrat budget proposal unsustainable and risky

'Raising taxes by $8 billion over the next four years…is not the answer,” says Chandler

Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger and ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, voted against the House Democrat budget proposal on the floor of the state House of Representatives today. He called the budget unsustainable and risky and warned against asking taxpayers for $8 billion in new and increased taxes.

“Raising taxes by $8 billion over the next four years to pay for everything but basic education is not the answer,” said Chandler. “Taxpayers are already sending the state nearly $3 billion more in the next budget cycle due to increased economic activity. However, much of that economic upswing has yet to reach parts of Washington outside the Puget Sound Region. Increasing the tax burden on those who provide mental health and substance abuse services, hospitals, grocery distributors, homebuyers and others is not something I think our citizens are interested in.

“Creating a state income tax on capital gains is also something our voters don't want,” said Chandler. “This is a gateway tax to a statewide income tax. We've seen this happen in other states where the excuse is to tax investment income but within a few years that trickles down to everybody. Our voters have repeatedly told lawmakers they don't want a state income tax and I think we should listen.”

Chandler also expressed concern with how quickly state spending grows under the Democrat plan, with a 17 percent increase in the 2017-19 biennium and 15 percent in 2019-21.

“This budget increases spending at a rate that far outpaces the incomes of those who have to pay for it,” said Chandler. “I wonder if many of my constituents or other residents across the state will see a 17 percent increase in their take-home pay over the next two years, and another 15 percent in the following two years.

“In the 2011-13 budget cycle our operating budget was around $31 billion,” said Chandler. “With the Democrat budget plan, our budget would grow to $51 billion by 2019-21. This is a $20 billion increase in just eight years! This is unsustainable and will lead our state down a very risky financial path.”

Chandler did express his hope that with spending plans passing both chambers, budget negotiations can begin in earnest.

“I'm forever an optimist. We now know what the House Democrats want and we know what the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus wants,” said Chandler. “We have three weeks to hammer out our differences and arrive at a compromise solution within the 105-day session. The people elect us to do our work within the time constraints set forth in the state constitution. We've become too complacent over the last decade or so and are slowly turning legislating into a full-time job. We need to finish our work on time and get back to our communities and live under the laws we help create.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov