Democrat budget flawed, unsustainable, says Buck
Olympia, WA - 4/12/05 - Over strong objections from Republicans who warned that the proposal was neither responsible nor sustainable, majority Democrats pushed their $26 billion budget through the state House of Representatives late Friday night. Rep. Jim Buck joined 40 other Republicans in voting against the proposal, which would raise spending by $2.8 billion – a 12 percent increase. It also leaves less than a 1 percent reserve in the state’s reserve account.
Approved on a near straight party-line vote of 55-41, the budget relies on a half billion dollars in tax hikes, including increases on cigarettes and liquor, a revival of the “death tax,” and another $487 million in one-time shifts of money from other funds.
“Make no mistake, this is not a House budget, it’s a Democrat budget,” said Buck, R-Joyce. “Republicans were shut out of the drafting process, and most of us never saw the proposal until just a couple of days ago. Regrettably, this budgeting approach is no more sustainable than the other two Democrat plans presented in the past month. There’s no serious attempt to control spending, and if this becomes law, we’re facing the prospect of another $1 billion shortfall in the next biennium.
“In 2003 we crafted a bipartisan agreement that filled a $2.7 billion budget hole, without raising taxes. That approach paid off. It helped put the state back on the road to economic recovery and revenue has grown by $1.7 billion dollars. We could increase spending in the next biennium by 7 percent without raising a single nickel in new taxes. But for Democrat budget writers, that just wasn’t enough, and we’re spending beyond our means.”
Buck noted that while Washington’s economy is on the upswing, a $507 million tax bite could derail the momentum of the state’s economic revitalization.
“This budget breaks faith with our constituents, many of whom are struggling, and who have made it clear that they expect us to address the state’s finances with responsibility and restraint – just as families and businesses are doing,” he added. “Taking half a billion dollars out of the economy through tax hikes will hurt families, puts jobs at risk, and send a negative message that Washington is not a good place to do business.”
Buck said he was equally concerned that the budget relies on breaking the terms of Initiative 601 – the state spending limit law approved by voters in 1993. House Democrats have introduced legislation that would allow the Legislature to raise taxes with a simple majority vote instead of a two-thirds supermajority.
“Initiative 601 was enacted to protect citizens from budgets just like this. At a time when we’re still working to rebuild public trust in government, gutting the initiative will undermine people’s confidence. Initiative 601 is the law. We shouldn’t allow it to be treated like something the voters just dropped in a suggestion box,” Buck concluded.
For further information, contact Bill Taylor (360) 786-7074 or at email@example.com and visit http://hrc.leg.wa.gov for news from the House Republican Caucus.
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