“Pushback” Already Coming to Gov. Inslee’s Budget Proposal from Legislators
Just a few hours after Gov. Jay Inslee released his 2015-17 budget proposal, legislators from across the state began chiming in with caution, and even resistance.
Gov. Inslee, as reported earlier Thursday here on our website, is proposing a capitol gains tax, raising the cigarette tax $.50 per pack, instituting a pollution tax on businesses. He would also plan to take some of that revenue and distribute it to lower income families.
He has also called for revisiting the idea of doing away with, or allowing to expire, nearly 100 of what he calls "tax loopholes" to raise revenue for the state.
As expected Republican legislators began to immediately call for caution, and even resistance to the ideas.
The Ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, Bruce Chandler from Granger, released a statement on Inslee's idea. It included these comments:
“The governor has unveiled some controversial proposals that have given state lawmakers some ideas to think about. It’s now time to hold them up to the bipartisan scrutiny of the legislative process."
(Layman's translation: 'this budget is pretty out there, and he better think twice about getting this passed without OUR scrutiny and approval.') More from his release.
"Any conversation about our state’s budget and the upcoming session needs to include the reminder that we are expecting nearly $3 billion more in new revenues for the next budget cycle – an eight percent increase! I know folks in my district would love to see an eight percent increase in their family budgets, but they haven’t. They may not see that kind of increase for the next two years. If Washington can’t balance the books with an eight percent increase in revenues, folks back home should be very be concerned." (Bold lettering added for emphasis).
And, Rep Chandler closed with a statement that we think politically throws down a gauntlet in front to Gov. Inslee:
"In the end, it’s not about what the governor wants – it’s about what at least 50 members of the House and 25 members of the Senate can agree upon." (Bold lettering added for emphasis).
Most of the time, strong verbage from legislators is tempered with the typical 'we look forward with the 'other side' to reach an agreeable solution', but if Chandler's response is any indication, Inslee faces a very tough battle getting this budget passed the way he wants. Chandler is a member of the State House, and although the GOP picked up some key seats in the November election, it's still controlled by the Democrats.
It will be even tougher in the Senate, where the GOP led Coalition of 26 legislators will certainly pick this plan apart, piece by piece. The Coalition, as they are known, stonewalled virtually all of Inslee's plans last year, resulting in him being voted one of the least effective governors in the nation.