Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It seems some in Olympia have forgotten that a “supplemental” budget is for small adjustments, course changes, emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. The budget released this week – and passed tonight – by the majority party spends just about every dime of the estimated $2.4 billion budget surplus over the next three years.
Remember, the two-year operating budget that Democrats passed last year (the 2019-21 biennium budget) grew by $8.1 billion over the previous budget. It included 13 different tax increases and raised another $26 billion in taxes over 10 years. In addition, revenues continue to increase at a record pace. Taxpayers are giving more than ever before.
But this did not stop Democrats from passing their budget off the House floor today. Their budget spends every dime taxpayers will give over the next three years, proving once again that what government gives, Democrats will spend.
We could have included a billion dollars in property tax relief and funded $30 car tabs. This alone would have helped elected officials reestablish a level of trust when it comes to managing YOUR money. Or, we could have paid down some of our long-term debt, like our unfunded pension liability. Instead, the House Democrat budget passed today just spreads that $2.4 billion around like peanut butter all over existing state programs, entitlements and services.
In many ways, their budget is a roll of the dice. It's gambling that the state economy will continue to churn at a record pace. If there's one little hiccup along the way – if the real estate market slows, if Boeing sells less planes, if the coronavirus hits us hard – we're going to be in big trouble.
My concern is that it seems like history is repeating itself. In 2007, the state had a $2.2 billion surplus which the Democrat Legislature spent down to almost nothing. Two years later, the headline from The Spokesman-Review was, “New state budget includes job cuts, tuition increases” as the state faced a $9 billion shortfall. It seems this budget today is a future budget shortfall in the making.
My continual question to you is this: Do you feel you are getting your money's worth with current state spending?
As always, thank you for reading my legislative update. Please contact me with questions or concerns, and please know that I consider it an honor to serve you in Olympia.