Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature is preparing to convene later this month to deal with a growing gap between tax collections and spending. The governor has called a 30-day special session to begin on Nov. 28. In order to leave room for a reserve, we will need to cut about $2 billion from the budget that was passed just a few months ago.
Members of the majority party are suggesting increased taxes as a partial alternative to tough cuts, but a tax proposal would have to pass the Legislature on a two-thirds vote or go to a vote of the people through referendum. It would only take a simple majority vote of the Legislature to refer a referendum to the ballot. I believe that the Legislature should operate on five assumptions:
1. Washington state has had a spending problem.
2. Economic recovery will take time.
3. We should continue to reform and downsize government, just as the private sector is doing.
4. Economic recovery – and the recovery of public revenues – requires a growing, vibrant private sector.
5. We don't need higher taxes. We need more people paying taxes. In other words, we need to get our state back to work!
For more information on the state's budget situation, I invite you to look at a “Report to taxpayers.” It provides a brief history of our budget spending, revenue trends, and a breakdown of where our money is going.
In preparation for the special session, I have been spending a lot of time with college and university administrators and students, local government officials, human service advocates, health care experts, environmental leaders, and fellow legislators. I hope you'll keep in touch with your ideas and concerns. Thank you.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000