Next state budget should do more than ‘meet the moment’

OLYMPIA… If the Senate’s Democratic majority wants a new state budget that is truly historic, says Sen. Lynda Wilson, there are more good ideas to be had in the Republican alternative she will put before the full Senate today.

“Earlier this week my Democratic colleagues spoke of ‘meeting the moment’ through their budget,” said Wilson, Senate Republican budget leader. “But we’ve been listening to the people, and after what they’ve endured for more than a year, they expect their legislators to do more this session than deal with the challenges of the present.

“I’m glad to see the Democratic budget reflect some of the smart investments in the budget we offered eight weeks ago – services for people with developmental disabilities, better access to broadband, and strong support for improving forest health. But the people of our state also want to see ideas that reach toward the future without reaching deeper into their pockets.

“Republicans will offer those today, from progressive property-tax relief to unprecedented support for Washington manufacturing and an end to the upward spiral of the state gas tax. We can do all that without the new income tax and new energy tax that are wrapped into the Senate Democratic budget, and without draining the rainy-day fund, as our colleagues would do. Our approach also comes in $4 billion lower. It’s a much more reasonable path for our state to take, especially during a pandemic and with a new White House that seems determined to hinder a national economic recovery with massive new spending and tax hikes,” she added.

Wilson, R-Vancouver, said she’s still flummoxed by the new taxes Senate Democrats want to balance their budget, knowing how the state’s financial outlook improved by many billions of dollars in mid-March due to the latest federal stimulus package and the latest state revenue forecast.

“The budget we’ll see today is advertised as making ‘historic’ investments. How can it not, seeing how much the Democrats are spending? The alternative budget Republicans will present would make some truly game-changing investments, but without the historic downside. No new taxes, and the rainy-day fund will remain intact. It’s the combination of stability and foresight the people of our state deserve.”