Governor Inslee called the Legislature into a second special session starting last Wednesday after the House and Senate could not come to an agreement on an operating budget by the end of the first 30-day special session. Using polarizing rhetoric, Governor Inslee blamed the stalemate on what he described as the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus’s unwillingness to compromise.
Unfortunately, “compromise” for the Governor and House Democrats seems to mean business-as-usual Olympia politics: new revenue (i.e. taxes), not government reform, such as what I and the Senate Majority Coalition have been pushing for before we consider any new revenue.
The Governor has claimed the Senate Majority Coalition’s “ideological bandwagon” is the culprit of the budget problem. But I think listening and responding to voters and taxpayers of this state is not as ideological as it is responsible.
Voters Are Not Eager to Embrace New Taxes
Over 60 percent of voters made it clear last November that they want it to be more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes. This might be why there was no hint of new taxes on Governor Inslee’s lips last year when he was stumping for votes, but now that approach is a thing of the past.
In a recent press conference, I and other leaders of the MCC reiterated what we’ve been saying all along—business as usual won’t work. The budget practices that got us into this mess aren’t going to get us out.
So what are some new ideas that Olympia hasn’t been trying?
We need to prioritize and reform our education system so we can graduate our youth at a higher rate than 77 percent. We need a friendlier business environment for our critical job creators. We need to lower labor costs and expensive regulations and keep businesses from leaving our state.
These key issues will undoubtedly grow revenues in our state far more sustainably than reaching deeper into taxpayers’ pockets.
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has been clear about its goals from the beginning—jobs, education and the budget. We presented our budget long before the other chamber in the hopes that we wouldn’t be in this time crunch and could finish the 105-day regular session with a sound and sustainable budget.
I am willing to work with my colleagues in the other chamber to come up with a solution that will move our state forward. But I am not willing to forsake the reforms our state critically needs to function and progress successfully into the future.
You Keep Us Accountable
Friends, I encourage you to make your voice heard loud in Olympia. I am holding my ground, but it’s critical that representatives hear from voters. As I said in the press conference I mentioned—you keep us accountable. So please don’t hesitate to contact me.
You can reach me using the form on my Contact page.
I’m hopeful I’ll have some positive news of a budget agreement to report in my next update.