Wednesday, February 27, 2008
OLYMPIA - State Representatives Dan Newhouse and Bruce Chandler this past Tuesday said the House supplemental operating budget passed by the Democratic majority will spend too much and save too little for the future.
The two Lower Yakima Valley lawmakers said the recent Economic and Revenue Forecast Council forecast showing a decrease of $423 million in state revenue highlights the importance of planning for a slowdown in the economy.
"This budget is about broken promises...we saw full day kindergarten funding being reduced for an increase in teacher pay," said Chandler (R-Granger). "We should not be pitting teachers against our kindergarteners."
Newhouse called the budget irresponsible.
"Much like the families we represent, the legislature needs to be fiscally responsible and think about the future," said Newhouse (R-Sunnyside). "This budget spends $305 million more than in the current budget at a time when we've been told we could be headed into a $2.4 billion deficit situation in the next budget cycle.
"Even in the best case scenario the state should live within a budget and not spend more money than available revenue," Newhouse added.
Newhouse and Chandler said they are also concerned the House budget proposal breaks promises previously made to the people of Washington by not funding new policy.
"It is unfair to mislead citizens with promises of programs that may sound good, but won't be funded," Chandler said. "On the other hand, the budget funds programs that could not be passed as policy, and yet were imbedded in the budget with funding. We need to be honest with our citizens about how we are spending their money - and not spend more to do things that don't work.
"We have already seen an increase of more than 33 percent in state spending over the past four years. That is $8.4 billion," said Newhouse.
"When the rate of state spending growth is over twice the rate of revenue growth it is clear that legislative priorities are out of step with Washington citizens. It is time for state government to operate more like families and businesses - they should not spend more money than is coming in and neither should we," Newhouse continued.
The supplemental operating budget is now in the Senate for further consideration.