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Rep. Chandler issues statement on House Democrat budget proposal

Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger and ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement today regarding the House Democrat 2018 supplemental budget proposal:

“Any conversation about state spending proposals would be incomplete without explicitly acknowledging the most recent state revenue forecast. With more than $1.3 billion in new revenues expected over the next four years, our state is well positioned to take care of the responsibilities we have to education, public safety, mental health, and protecting the most vulnerable.

“That being said, I do have serious concerns about the pace in which state government spending is growing. We need to be just as concerned about state household income growth as we are about state revenue growth. I am not sure everyone here in Olympia shares that sentiment.

“While both the House and Senate Democrat budgets are much more realistic than what the governor had earlier proposed, the fact remains, that if either budget were adopted tomorrow, as-is, state spending would be growing at a rate much faster than statewide household incomes. It seems the only choice we’re being given is to either raise taxes or tap the state’s rainy day fund. This is shortsighted and unsustainable.

“We know that these robust economic times will not last forever, and indeed, have not actually occurred in all areas outside Seattle. The rare and short-lived inflation of real estate values are not something to base a sustainable budget upon. I would hope lawmakers learned this lesson a decade and a governor ago.

“We must avoid the temptation to spend every last dollar the taxpayers have entrusted to us. Instead, I would like to see some of these extraordinary revenues used to ensure that this robust economy lasts longer and spreads to every corner of the state.

“Without question we need to honor the bipartisan agreement made last year that would bring about tax equality to all Washington manufacturers, not just those seen from the Space Needle. We should also be looking at more ways to spur economic growth across the state via B&O tax adjustments for small businesses and property tax breaks for our citizens.

“The future will bring economic challenges to state government. That is certain. However, what is uncertain is whether state government will be a help or a hindrance to our citizens as they face these challenges.

“We have an opportunity this session to set a course for sustainable and predictable state spending into the future. Do we have the political will? That remains to be seen.”