Taylor votes against massive tax increases during late-night committee hearing

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Rep. David Taylor – (360) 786-7874

Taylor votes against massive tax increases during late-night committee hearing

'The budget shell games continue, only this time, the majority party wants to raise taxes as well. This is not the way our citizens expect us to govern,' says Taylor

With little fanfare or public interest, House Democrats passed a budget proposal out of the House Appropriations Committee late this evening that includes tax increases, completely raids the state's rainy day fund and leaves almost nothing in reserves, placing the state budget in a precarious position if Washington's economy does anything but grow steadily.   Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee and member of the committee, voted against the House Democrats' budget, saying if the $2 billion more in new revenue expected to come in during the next two-year budget cycle isn't enough to fund state government, maybe state government is growing faster than it should be.   “I know this is my first year on the budget-writing committee,” said Taylor.  “But I find the disregard for zero-based budgeting appalling.  We just sit down and start with a 'maintenance level' number and go from there.  If that's how we're going to budget, where does it end?  When do we hold state agencies accountable?  When do we make the unelected bureaucrats come back to the elected Legislature and justify each and every expenditure from scratch?  Until we make a significant change in how we start the budget dialogue, no amount of new revenue – even a 6.6 percent increase like we're seeing next biennium – will be enough.”   Taylor and other House Republicans were frustrated that once again the state budget passed the next legislative hurdle in the dead of night with little media attention or public oversight.   “This is par for the course under the current majority party,” said Taylor.  “There's plenty of time during the day for state agency personnel to express their need for more money, but when the minority party finally has an opportunity to present a different solution or have a debate that runs counter to the 'tax and spend' message of the day, the clock ticks closer to midnight and it's time for everyone to go home.  It's an extremely effective way to silence those who disagree with you.”   House Republicans offered the bipartisan budget that passed the state Senate last week as an amendment to the House Democrats' budget proposal.  In his remarks, Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and ranking Republican on the committee said the Senate budget was perhaps the most bipartisan budget proposal he's seen during his years in the Legislature.  He noted the Senators voting for the budget represented 30 of the 49 legislative districts, 38 of the state's 39 counties and over 4.2 million citizens.

Taylor said the remarks from the majority party against the Senate budget during the committee debate failed to pass the straight face test.   “I heard one of the House Democrats say we shouldn't vote for the Senate budget because it contained questionable fund transfers.  But that's exactly how the majority party has been 'balancing' their budgets over the years.  Instead of prioritizing state expenditures or questioning if there's a better way for the state to deliver services, they've used one-time federal money, fund transfers and budget gimmicks,” said Taylor.  “Only now they want to take it a step further by taking programs and services that have typically been funded by the state's general fund and moving them into other funding sources.  The budget shell games continue, only this time, the majority party wants to raise taxes as well.  This is not the way our citizens expect us to govern.”   The Senate budget amendment offered by House Republicans failed and the House Democrats' budget proposal sailed through committee on a party-line vote.   However, Taylor said there is still hope that a compromise can be reached before legislators reach further into taxpayers' pockets.   “We're going to keep fighting this thing,” said Taylor.  “I anticipate a late-night floor session on Friday.  Who knows, we may go well into the night and into the next morning.  But we're not going to go down without a fight.  The citizens of this state want state government to live within its means without raising taxes.  We'll continue to express that sentiment as forcefully and as often as we can.”


Washington State House Republican Communications