After a series of unprecedented procedural maneuvers Friday evening, minority members of the Washington State Senate Republican Caucus joined with three like-minded Democrats to temporarily gain a philosophical majority and introduce a sustainable budget proposal that doesn’t depend on gimmicks, tricks or tax increases. Central Washington senators say not only does Senate Bill 5967 close the $1.1 billion gap, it projects to be in balance by the 2013-15 biennium.

“Our budget prioritizes spending in two key areas: providing for education and protecting the most vulnerable,” said Sen. Janea Holmquist- Newbry, R-Moses Lake. “Without any new taxes, it dedicates more for K-12 and higher education combined, as well as reducing fewer programs for the elderly, disabled and mentally ill than any other budget proposal.”

Holmquist Newbry added that she was particularly pleased that the budget preserves reforms enacted last session that have already proved successful. Her comments were echoed by Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, who specified the pension reform and balanced budget requirements were key.

“After the House and Senate majority budgets came out with the same accounting slight-of-hand and budget gimmickry we’ve seen year after year, it became apparent that someone needed to stop the roller-coaster,” King said. “This reform budget doesn’t delay school funding or set up the next Legislature and governor to deal with another significant budget gap in 2013.”

Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, agreed.

 

“I’ve opposed every irresponsible budget that’s been proposed since I began serving in this chamber, so I’m glad to finally support a budget proposal I had a hand in creating,” Honeyford said. “This budget institutes real reforms and balances the books with no new taxes. I think everyone in Washington can get behind that.”

SB 5967 passed the Senate 25-24 late in the evening and will now be considered by the House of Representives.