What two local Republican legislators had to say about this year’s budget process

On Thursday, legislative Democrats had announced that they had reached a deal on a two-year budget for state government.

It’s good news for legislators hoping to finish their work and go home by Sunday, April 28, the last scheduled day for the session. But it’s bad news for anyone who’s interested in seeing or commenting on, you know, what’s actually in the budget before it’s passed because Democratic budget won’t release details until Saturday.

Republicans have already been unhappy with this session because of all the new taxes Democrats, who control the Legislature, are seeking. But now, Republican Reps. Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff, both of Vancouver, sent out a joint statement expressing their dissatisfaction with the taxes and lack of transparency in the budget process even though they get to go home on time.:

“The process of developing the 2019-21 operating budget has been nothing short of imprudent. Not only has the majority party shut Republicans out of negotiations, but they have decided to raise taxes without providing ample time for taxpayers to weigh in. That is deeply concerning for those of us in the minority.

“The majority’s insistence on raising taxes, despite record revenues and a $3 billion surplus, is short-sighted and shows a complete lack of respect for the will of the people. Voters have rejected tax increases at the ballot box time and time again, yet majority party budget writers seem to have no interest in taking that into consideration. Instead, they are considering imposing a capital gains income tax, while also increasing property and B&O taxes. They are also considering turning the state’s nonresident sales tax exemption into an annual remittance program, which would severely cripple small businesses and hurt our economy in Southwest Washington.

“Passing a budget with massive spending increases and billions in new taxes will hinder our state’s future economic growth, hurt our competitiveness, and leave us vulnerable in the event of an economic downturn. This is the wrong direction for our state.”

It looks like the Legislature will have to pass the budget so we know what’s in it. Happy sine die!

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