With one 30-day special session completed, Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, is still waiting for the House of Representatives majority leadership to get the votes they need for their budget. House budget leaders assumed $1.5 billion of tax increases in their spending plan but lacked the votes to pass the tax proposals either out of committee or off the House floor.
“There’s no more excuses for this failure to vote for their budget,” said Angel. “If they want to spend more than a billion dollars than the state currently has, then they need to show how they plan to pay for it. How are we supposed to know if they’re serious otherwise?”
Senate budget leaders have been unable to determine if the House actually supports tax increases or not. Senate negotiators maintain that current revenue is enough to fund state priorities and have introduced two budget proposals that fully fund education, increase mental health capacity and maintain social services without relying on tax increases. The Senate budget is fully funded and was passed weeks prior to the end of regular session.
“If they don’t have the votes for the tax increases they proposed, do they have the votes for a lower tax increase?” questioned Angel. “Do they have support for taxes at all? We have no way of knowing until their budget has been through the complete legislative process. Otherwise, we’re just negotiating against a wish-list and fairy dust.”
Gov. Jay Inslee’s December budget proposal included $1.5 billion in tax increases. Since the release of that proposal, the state has received $1.1 billion in new fiscal resources. The Governor has retracted his tax plan as a result. In between the Governor’s release and the House budget plan release, the state received $621 million of increased resources, yet the House spending plan also included $1.5 billion in tax increases with equal spending increases. Since the release of the House spending plan, $482 million has been added to the state budget outlook.
“It’s time for House budget leaders to come back to reality,” said Angel. “There’s no reason for a long second special session. We have more than enough to make a deal. Let’s get this done.”