VANCOUVER… Sen. Lynda Wilson, lead Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, offered this statement today after Gov. Jay Inslee completed the release of his 2021-23 operating budget proposal.
“I’m encouraged by the governor’s new focus on getting children back into school, considering how more than half the state budget has been going to K-12, and remote instruction hasn’t delivered on that investment. For months, Senate Republicans have been urging that families be given the choice to return to in-person learning, because the metrics supported it. Now that the governor is on board I look forward to working with him to ensure our children get back into the classroom as quickly and safely as possible. It’s one of the most equitable actions we can take, and it upholds the state’s constitutional duty to provide for education.
“Otherwise, this hasn’t been a good week for the families of Washington. I had hoped that for once, we’d see a new biennial budget from Governor Inslee that doesn’t include tax increases. If the people of our state ever deserved that kind of consideration from their elected leaders, it’s now. Instead, it’s hard to tell from his budget proposal that our state is still dealing with a pandemic, because he’s again looking for billions in new spending and making another run at imposing unpopular taxes that were failures even before COVID-19 came along.
“Senate Republicans have been listening to the families and employers across Washington who are still struggling to deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic and government restrictions on workers. The last thing they need is a new tax on health care – during a pandemic, no less – or a state income tax or to pay more for essentials like energy and fuel.
“Although the state economy has certainly been set back from where we were a year ago, there is no budget crisis. The revenue for social and health services and other supports is still going to be there, and we should have an opportunity to make new investments in the next budget in areas that would help people who have suffered from the pandemic. Beyond that, let’s hold the line on spending and avoid putting even more pressure on families and our private-sector job creators, and give them equal opportunity to recover – that’s another example of the equity needed at a time like this.”