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House Of Representatives Passed A Supplemental Operating Budget

nwpr.org

Today the House of Representatives passed a supplemental operating budget. The proposal passed on a party-line vote. It reduces spending by $407 million and leaves $450 million in reserves for the remainder of the 2011-13 biennium. Reps. Bruce Chandler and David Taylor voted against the budget, and said they supported an alternative proposal by House Republicans, which would have reduced spending $817 million and left $625 million in the state’s reserves.

“Voters have spoken clearly against tax increases, and yet this budget strips money from cities and counties while trying to force them to increase taxes. This budget pushes payments to school districts into the next biennium. When the Legislature did that in the 1980s, it took 18 years to pay it off,” said Chandler, R-Granger. “Though we often hear about ‘One Washington,’ the budget also manages to reduce funding to critical access hospitals only within the Republican legislative districts. This is the most blatant political move that will hurt rural communities’ access to urgent care. The House majority’s top priority is protecting the Olympia bureaucracy at the expense of direct services to our constituents.”

During the amendatory process in the House Feb. 28, Republicans proposed three amendments to restore funding at a higher level for: employment assistance for people with developmental disabilities, mental health services and long-term care for seniors.

“This budget fails to prioritize spending, uses gimmicks to push much of the problem into next year’s budget, and relies heavily on higher fees and potential tax increases at the local level. It’s a continuation of the failed policies and failed leadership that has attributed to our budget problems for years,” said Taylor, R-Moxee. “House Republicans offered a realistic spending plan that prioritized and protected education, public safety and services for our most vulnerable citizens. We’ve demonstrated what a responsible, all-priorities budget looks like. But what we’re seeing today is not it. Instead, this budget focuses on politics over priorities, gimmicks over sustainability, and more taxes and fees over more courage. Our hardworking taxpayers deserve better.”

Both lawmakers said they would have supported a budget proposal introduced by House Republicans. Read more about that proposal here: http://houserepublicans.wa.gov.

The 60-day session is scheduled to adjourn March 8.

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