Statement from Rep. Dan Kristiansen on budget proposal

The House of Representatives today approved a measure that would reduce spending for the remainder of the fiscal year 2011 by $222 million. The vote was 55-43. Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, voted against House Bill 1086 and supported an amendment that would preserve funding in education while eliminating the General Assistance Unemployable (GAU) program.

Kristiansen offered this statement after the vote.

“In our local school districts, many of those budgets were settled last year, and built into those spending plans were allocations they counted on from the state for K-4 class-size reductions. The legislation approved today pulls the rug right out from under them, going back retroactively and removing those K-4 funding allocations. It’s essentially taking away money that they’ve already spent. That’s going to be devastating to schools. Where are they going to find that money?

“Budgeting is about setting priorities. GAU is supposed to be temporary assistance as the truly disabled are transitioned to Social Security. Instead, it has become a long-term cash assistance program for many who are already getting treatment, food and housing assistance from other sources. The federal government has a transition program for these people. So our Republican proposal looked at whether we should cut school funding or eliminate a program already duplicated on the federal level. The choice was clear: We chose in our budget proposal to protect schools. Unfortunately, the majority party made the other choice, which means education for kids will be affected. That’s part of why I couldn’t support this legislation.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications