House Republican budget lead, Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, released the following statement regarding the passage of the House Democrats’ supplemental operating budget proposal Friday:
“Tonight, the Democratic majority voted their supplemental operating budget off the House floor. I am deeply disappointed it did not include a single dollar of tax relief for Washington’s working families. Thanks to soaring revenue collections and shrinking caseloads, the Legislature had an unprecedented surplus of $2.4 billion. Nevertheless, the majority proposed a budget that increases spending by billions and provides no relief to taxpayers or support for the transportation budget, which is facing the impacts of I-976 and declining gas tax revenue.
“These shortcomings are why House Republicans proposed two alternative budgets, both of which would have fully funded critical government services while providing substantial tax cuts. The first budget included a billion-dollar tax cut for working families, including backfilling the transportation budget from the impacts of $30 car tabs to prevent the need for a gas tax increase next year. It would have also eliminated the sales tax on all food bought at grocery stores, and the sales tax on basic personal necessities like diapers, feminine hygiene products and breast pumps. The second budget would have cut property taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars statewide. In both cases, these tax reductions were packaged with a generous budget that was widely championed by stakeholders at its initial hearing.
“The majority party refused to consider these alternative budgets, using every excuse in the book for why it’s not the right time to provide tax relief. If the majority cannot find the will to provide tax cuts for working families when we have a $2.4 billion surplus, then it seems clear they will never provide tax cuts. We can and must do better.”