Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want you to know I share your frustration and disappointment that the Legislature did not finish its business within the allotted 60-days. Even more concerning is the governor has now called a special session at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $18,000 a day — so that DEMOCRATS CAN RAISE YOUR TAXES BY NEARLY $1 BILLION!
We were supposed to adjourn by midnight last night and go home. However, Democrats in both the House and Senate have waited until the last two weeks of the session to craft a supplemental operating budget that would address a $2.7 billion shortfall.
Now before I go further, I think it's important for you to understand this: Democrats have the majority votes in the Legislature. They have 62 votes in the House. Republicans have only 36 votes. In the Senate, Democrats have 31 votes and Republicans have 18 votes.
My point is that it is NOT partisan politics that held up the session! Democrats had enough votes on their own to pass a supplemental budget and adjourn on time WITHOUT A SPECIAL SESSION.
As you know, I am the chairman of the House Republican Caucus. My Republican colleagues and I have been prepared to vote and bring this session to a close ON TIME. Instead, the House speaker has brought out just a few bills and resolutions to vote on, but for more than a week and a half, we've been WAITING ON THE DEMOCRATS to bring legislation to the floor for a vote.
Let me repeat: WE'VE BEEN WAITING because the Democrats cannot agree amongst themselves, even though THEY HAVE THE VOTES. They've wasted a lot of time bickering among themselves because they can't agree on the damage they want to do!
Want further proof? Read this Seattle Times article from Kate Riley: “Democrats turning on Democrats: There has got to be a better way.”
So, you bet I'm frustrated! And I know you are too!
The reason the governor has called a special session is so the majority party can pass a supplemental budget with tax increases totaling nearly a billion dollars!
This, at a time when more than 359,000 people in Washington are out of a job. That's more than the populations of Spokane, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Kelso and Puyallup combined!
The 39th Legislative District has 8,209 people out of work. That's the largest jobless rate of any legislative district in the state.
Why should people who have lost their jobs be required to pay more taxes to bail out state government from its poor spending decisions?
Those poor spending decisions continue, even in the Democrats' latest budget proposal. The Seattle Times reported yesterday that despite the governor and majority Democrats claims that they've “cut the budget,” spending is on track to INCREASE!
Here's a portion of the article:
“The budget plans, for example, would cut $78 million from the class-size-reduction initiative, I-728, and millions more from social services and higher education. Total cuts currently range from about $650 million in the House budget to more than $900 million in the governor's. However, the cuts are offset by around $900 million, or more, in increased spending in the budget proposals.”
Click here to read the Seattle Times article.
The Democrats' claim to cut spending, but then offset those cuts with new spending, is like opening the bathtub drain, but keeping the water faucet on. The level remains the same.
The $900 million in new and increased spending is nearly the same amount as Democrats have proposed to increase your taxes! They have proposed so many new ways of taxing you, they cannot decide which ones to rule out.
House Republicans have provided solutions that would set spending priorities and balance this budget WITHOUT TAX INCREASES. We proposed a “Made in Washington” jobs plan that would free up resources for employers in the private sector so they could retain employees and hire again.
We have repeatedly offered our solutions and have been repeatedly turned away by the majority Democrats. We fought on the House floor for 10 hours to protect the will of the people and save Initiative 960 (Taxpayer Protection Act) from being overturned. But the Democrats had the votes to gut I-960 so that it would be easier to raise your taxes. The governor enthusiastically signed Senate Bill 6130, overturning I-960.
Tax increases will only further hurt our economy and families, it will drive employers and jobs into Idaho (read my article about this), it will increase unemployment, and it will create deeper budget deficits long into the future.
I believe tax increases are unnecessary and harmful, and I will remain committed to adopting a fiscally-responsible budget that makes government live within its means, as you do at home or work.
Let me also add that our Republican leadership told the Democrats that none of our members will return to Olympia until they have legislation for us to vote on. We do not believe it is fair to the taxpayers of this state to call in legislators just to make them sit and WAIT because of lack of leadership. When we have legislation to vote on, our Republican members will return to Olympia. But we will not WASTE your taxpayer money!
Call the governor, the House speaker and the Senate majority leader. Tell them NO NEW TAXES. The number is 1-800-562-6000. Do it now!
As always, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts, ideas, questions and concerns. Please click here to contact my office through our e-mail service.
In your service,