Today the majority party in the House released a state operating budget proposal. It would spend a total of $38.9 billion, and includes $1.5 billion in new taxes and tax increases this year alone. Next year the total amount of new and increased taxes would total $2.4 billion.
As you may know, the state of Washington will already take in an additional $3 billion in tax revenues over the next two years. That's an 8.6 percent increase over the last budget cycle. It is enough to cover all of our current obligations as well as investments this year in K-12 education and mental health improvements. Yet the majority party is proposing a budget that requires new taxes to fund new spending that goes beyond our current ability to pay.
Sustainable, responsible budgets are essential to the long-term economic health of our state. Under this budget proposal, state spending would reach $43 billion in four years. In my view, that is simply unsustainable and not responsible.
You have the opportunity to make your voice heard. Thanks to cooperation between the two parties, the public will have more time to review the budget proposal before a public hearing is held. I encourage you to review the budget documents by clicking here (all relevant document links are under the headline “PSHB 1106 by Representative Hunter (3/27/15).”
I invite you to come to Olympia this Monday, March 30, at 1:30 p.m. to express your views on the budget. That is when the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed budget legislation. The House is currently scheduled to debate and vote on the budget this Thursday, April 2.
Please don't hesitate to let me know what you think – I value your input. Thank you so much.