Haler proposes constitutional amendments to make hydro power ‘green,’ protect taxpayers and require a balanced state budget

Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, introduced three constitutional amendments during the first week of the 2013 legislative session to make Washington's hydropower “green” under the state's energy and environmental laws, protect taxpayers and require a balanced state budget.

Haler, who has represented the 8th Legislative District since 2004, said it's time for lawmakers to make the difficult choices and get Washington state off the budget roller coaster of the past few years that has seen continuing budget shortfalls.  He also stressed the need for Washington to officially recognize its hydropower as “renewable.”

“Our region is blessed with affordable and abundant hydropower,” Haler said.  “It's time to stop playing politics with definitions; stop playing games with ratepayers.  With my bill, House Joint Resolution 4200, we will recognize – like every other state in the nation – that hydro power is 'green' and allow our citizens to benefit from this renewable resource.”

Haler's second constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 4201, would require a two-thirds legislative vote for tax increases.  This idea, commonly referred to as the Taxpayer Protection Act, has been repeatedly approved by voters over the years yet the legislature has chosen to continually overturn or repeal it.  His third constitutional amendment, House Joint Resolution 4202, would require a balanced state budget, something the governor is required to propose but the legislature is not currently required to adopt.

“One of the biggest issues I hear about as I travel around the Eighth District is the fact that voters have to continually approve the Taxpayer Protection Act,” Haler said.  “Folks back home are wondering when Olympia is going to 'get it' and stop overturning the will of the people when it comes to raising taxes.

“And, while the legislature hasn't yet passed an unbalanced state budget, our former governor has signed budgets into law that she knew would be in the red before the ink was even dry,” continued Haler.  “I believe the time for a constitutional provision requiring a balanced budget is now while the public and the legislature are engaged in another effort to close another budget hole.  Without this specific parameter, the temptation for some in Olympia to embrace deficit spending or credit card budgeting may be too great to resist.”

The 2013 legislative session began on Jan. 14 and is scheduled for 105 days.


Washington State House Republican Communications