House-passed ‘early savings bill’ neither early nor substantive, says Taylor
The state House of Representatives Friday passed a supplemental budget bill comprising $45.4 million in early cuts in state spending. Fifteenth District Rep. David Taylor voted against the measure (HB 2921), saying the bill reflects a lack of fiscal leadership by the majority party and would do nothing substantive to close the state's massive $2.6 billion budget hole.
“There are no serious savings in the bill that would actually reduce the shortfall,” said Taylor, R-Moxee. “The suggestion that this is an 'early savings bill' is a charade. The reality is that the House rubber-stamped reductions that were in the executive order the governor gave agencies last year. Nibbling around the edges of a major budget crisis is neither responsible nor resourceful.”
Taylor expressed disappointment at what he called “a missed opportunity” to implement policy changes that would actually reduce spending. With the exception of a single item in the proposal, he said. “The budget amounts to little more than “an accounting exercise.”
Taylor said majority-party budget writers could take a lesson from 15th District families, many of whom who are not just cutting their budgets, but prioritizing their needs. An “accounting exercise,” he said, won't pass muster with the public any more than it would in decisions he and his wife make in managing their Angus cattle ranch.
“My wife asked me to reduce the size of our herd. Well, I sold a few in 2009, and when she asked me again to reduce our herd size, I told her, 'I just did.' Her response was, 'That was 2009; I'm talking about 2010.' There is no difference between that conversation with my wife and what we passed here today,” said Taylor. “A bill that just recognizes cuts that took place six months ago does nothing to address the real issue.”
“Let's talk about real cuts,” Taylor said. “For example, why not cut the $70 million that's earmarked for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to make additional land purchases? Each time the department buys up another parcel of land, it takes money away from the local tax roles, further hurting cash-strapped county and local governments already cutting back on staff, programs and services.”
In a recent assessment of Washington's checkbook, the director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council predicted that state general-fund revenues are not expected to return to their 2008 peak until 2012.
The longer it takes the Legislature to act decisively and start cutting spending, said Taylor, the deeper the hole will be in the next biennium – a shortfall that by some estimates could reach $7 billion.
“No one said this was going to be easy, but the sooner we implement true cost savings, the more impact it will have. We're kicking the can down the road, waiting for another day to do the hard work,” he concluded.
House Bill 2921 passed the House 77-19 and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
For more information, contact: Bill Taylor, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7074
###Washington State House Republican Communications