Wilson says unnecessary taxes, regressive policies outweigh good things in budget signed today

VANCOUVER… Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver and Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, offered this statement today after Gov. Jay Inslee’s signing of the $59.2 billion state operating budget for 2021-23:

“There are good things in the new budget, like more support for our most vulnerable residents and behavioral-health treatment, and funding to improve air quality by reducing wildfires, and the ‘working families’ tax exemption – all of which were found first in our Senate Republican budget.

“If the majority Democrats had followed the Republican lead more closely, this budget would spend several billion dollars less, wouldn’t touch the rainy-day fund, and wouldn’t include any new or higher taxes, yet it would also provide substantial property-tax relief, jump-start our state’s manufacturing sector, and pay for billions’ worth of new transportation projects without an increase in the gas tax. Unfortunately for families and employers, the majority had other priorities and interests.

“In this budget, the governor gets the capital-gains income tax and the climate policies he and many other Democrats have dreamed of for years, at the expense of the taxpayer. Those are completely unnecessary from a fiscal standpoint, especially when we learned just yesterday that revenue collections for the past month are coming in $266 million higher than projected. The majority simply seized the political opportunity to push them through.

“In exchange, the people of Washington get a path to a full-blown state income tax, and bigger bills for energy, and fuel, and cellphone service, and for filing documents at their local courthouse. Governor Inslee talks about the income tax and the working-families tax exemption like they go together, but the Republican budget proved otherwise.

“The bottom line is, the governor and the Democratic majority have just made our state a more regressive place to live. Lower-income earners and people in marginalized communities stand to lose far more than they gain from this budget. They would have been far better off with the Republican approach.”