Statements from Reps. Barbara Bailey and Norma Smith on updated state revenue forecast
After today’s updated state revenue forecast where the state’s chief economist Dr. Arun Raha predicted a $2.6 billion shortfall for the two-year budget, 10th District Reps. Barbara Bailey and Norma Smith issued the following statements:
Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor and assistant ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee:
“Today’s revenue forecast once again demonstrates that our budget condition continues to decline. It is essential to point out that if we take responsible action right away, we can get our state’s fiscal health back on track.
“As one-time money from President Obama’s federal stimulus package begins to run out, the governor and majority party are entertaining ideas of tax increases upon those that can least afford it right now: working families and small businesses. Legislators must return to funding the highest priorities of government first — education, protecting our most vulnerable citizens, paying our pension obligations, and ensuring our state’s public safety. Accountability is a must — and the time to act is now.
“I remain unwavering in my commitment to get our budget back on track, and reducing our state’s $2.6 billion shortfall by focusing on long-term strategies for economic prosperity.”
Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton:
“The amount of the estimated deficit is staggering. But, I urge the Legislature to use caution in solving the problem and look to efficiencies, not new or increased taxes and fees, to fill the gap. We simply cannot consider new taxes if we are serious about an economic recovery.
“In reality, increased taxes would hurt struggling families the most and would do further damage to employers struggling survive these turbulent economic challenges and to keep people gainfully employed. Increased taxes and higher labor costs would hamper job growth and, as a result, revenue growth. This is the time to act on policy recommendations that provide relief and help retain and create jobs.
“We must do all in our power to support our employers during this difficult time – leaving more dollars in their pockets to keep people employed is critical. As was pointed out today, without a drop in unemployment, meaning an increase in private-sector hiring, we will continue to lag behind in the economic recovery and prolong our budget problems. We need to make sure employers have the confidence to keep their doors open, and show them state government is responsive to their needs and the needs of every individual in the state. Healthy employers would create prosperity in our state and, in turn, bolster our state revenue outlook.
“As we return to Olympia to address the budget shortfall, it is essential that we remain committed to funding the essentials: public safety, quality education, services for our most vulnerable, and the critical infrastructure necessary to allow our economy to function. It will require the utmost diligence and care.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications