New taxes with $9 billion of addition revenue? Republicans say ‘no!’ Democrats expected to seek more
It's budget week in Olympia. House Democrats are expected to release their 2019-21 operating budget proposal Monday and vote it off the House floor by week's end. There's lots of additional money coming in to the state, but some lawmakers want more. As John Sattgast reports, much of the debate will not only center on the budget, but how to pay for all that spending.
SATTGAST: (:96) When budget writers sat down to draft the state's operating budget two years ago, they had 41-point-6 billion dollars in revenue to work with. Today, budget writers will have nearly nine-billion dollars more – totaling nearly 51 billion dollars. Yet, legislative Democrats say that's still not enough to meet their commitments. They've signaled tax increases are on the horizon.
House Republican Budget Leader Representative Drew Stokesbary says that's the wrong signal. He says there's plenty of money for the state to pay for all of its priorities – without raising taxes.
STOKESBARY – CLIP 1 (:19) “We can fund all of our shared priorities. We can fix the special education funding formula. We can provide school employee benefits. We can continue investing in higher ed. We can create more salmon to save the orca. We can fix the governor's broken mental health system, and also give our state employees a raise. And we can do all of those things within existing resources without new taxes.”
SATTGAST: House Republicans are gearing up with amendments to have a robust debate on the House floor against tax increases.
STOKESBARY – CLIP 2 (:05) “I think you're going to see a difference in priority. We're going to prioritize the hard-working taxpayer who funds all of these services.”
SATTGAST: The state's Chief Economist Steve Lerch said Wednesday there are signs of the economy slowing — even a possible recession. Stokesbary cautions against the Legislature going on a spending spree.
STOKESBARY – CLIP 3 (:10) “With the recent Wall Street Journal survey saying that over 80 percent of private economists think another downturn is going to happen by 2021, we should be doing all we can to prepare for that, not by making the fall even harder.”
SATTGAST: 51 billion dollars. Republicans say that's more than enough. Democrats are expected to say that's not good enough. The debate is on as budget week gets underway at the state Capitol. John Sattgast, Olympia.
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