Haler votes ‘no’ on House budget, says current fiscal path leads to future budget shortfalls

‘We haven’t learned from the past at all.  Washington will continue to have budget shortfalls in the coming years because of the lack of action taken in this budget,’ says Haler

The Washington State House of Representatives passed its 2010 supplemental operating budget this evening.  Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, released the following statement:

“This budget relies too much upon one-time money from the federal government – in the form of legislation that hasn’t even passed Congress yet – and from budget transfers from other dedicated accounts.  It cuts only one percent of state spending at a time when family budgets in my district have been cut much, much deeper.  We haven’t learned from the past at all.  Washington will continue to have budget shortfalls in the coming years because of the lack of action taken in this budget.

“I’ve also heard from employers in my district and they’re saying that the taxes being proposed to balance the budget could force them to lay off workers or relocate out-of-state.  Our economy is very slowly starting to recover, but it’s extremely fragile.  We must adopt a ‘do no harm’ approach when it comes to our state’s economic recovery.  We should be adopting policies that provide stability and assurance for employers – policies that encourage expansion, relocation to Washington state, and the rehiring of displaced workers.  This budget does none of that.

“This budget lacks courage, is shortsighted and unsustainable.”

Quick Budget Facts

· The operating budget is on a two-year cycle, with midcourse adjustments made in even-numbered years through a supplemental version. It is facing a $2.7 billion shortfall for one year.

· The operating budget is the largest of the state’s three main budgets, along with the capital and transportation budgets, and pays for K-12 schools, corrections and public safety programs, government and judicial operations, higher education, and health and human services.

· The $30.678 billion House supplemental operating budget seeks to close the $2.7 billion budget shortfall through:

  • new tax increases ($900 million);
  • federal funds ($641 million);
  • state fund transfers ($236 million);
  • spending cuts ($653 million); and
  • the state rainy day fund ($229 million).

· With the recent suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act (Initiative 960) through Senate Bill 6130, only a simple majority in the Legislature (50 state representatives and 25 state senators) is needed to increase taxes. Not one Republican in either the House or Senate voted for Senate Bill 6130.

· The state had a $1.8 billion surplus in the 2005-07 budget cycle, driven by extraordinary real estate excise tax revenue. State spending grew by 40 percent, or more than $8 billion, from 2005 to 2009 and created the shortfall that now requires a billion dollars in new taxes.

· The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 11.




For more information, contact: Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer, (360) 786-7698.


Washington State House Republican Communications