Rep. Norma Smith on passage of state budget
“I cannot support a budget that is clearly not sustainable. Only recently we had extraordinary new revenues, yet spending outpaced tax collections. I believed this economic crisis presented the Legislature a good opportunity to restructure spending to ensure state government lives within its means. Unfortunately, majority leadership did exactly what they have done in previous budgets – spent more than the state is bringing in.
“Budget writers raided the capital budget of $777 million, skipped a pension payment of $449 million and used the federal stimulus of $3 billion to plug the budget gap without addressing fundamental concerns regarding the priorities of government. What happens with the next budget when we do not have these dollars to rely on? It's irresponsible to the people of this state for the Legislature to leave them with an I.O.U. that could be ten billion dollars in two years without any way of paying for it.
“I'm also disappointed that Republican ideas and solutions were not incorporated into the budget. We came forward and offered assistance, but were not invited to the negotiating table. When you have a 'group-think' in which a few people hold tight control, stifle input from the majority of members, and then roll out a budget within hours of final vote, it doesn't allow for creative and innovative solutions.
“We did not create the budget problems, but we were willing to work with the majority party to work toward a sustainable budget. Unfortunately, our offer was not accepted. I fear the choices they made today are going to haunt the next Legislature and in debt our children for years to come.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications