Rep. Stokesbary issues statement on passage of House Democrat operating budget

House Republican budget lead, Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, released the following statement today regarding the passage of the House Democrats’ 2019-21 operating budget proposal:

“We entered the 2019 session with the largest budget surplus in recent history. Thanks to positive caseload trends and a strong revenue forecast, that surplus now stands at $2.8 billion. With additional common-sense savings and efficiencies, that surplus could grow to $4 to 5 billion. There is no need to consider additional taxes in this fiscal environment, so I’m disappointed the majority would seek to raise taxes by more than $4 billion.

“While I’m discouraged that several of our ideas were rejected, I am pleased the majority did accept a number of key budget amendments proposed by House Republicans, including:

  • Increasing Medicaid fraud enforcement, which would save $240 million;
  • Providing for more local drug and gang policing in response to the opioid epidemic;
  • Raising payment rates for those providing care to seniors and individuals with disabilities;
  • Funding programs to reduce veteran suicides;
  • Providing a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers and public employees;
  • Giving additional assistance to mostly small and rural-school districts uniquely affected by the McCleary legislation;
  • Increasing transportation funding for homeless youth and foster children so they can stay in their school district;
  • Investing in hatchery production at state and tribal fisheries with an emphasis on Chinook salmon, the Orca’s preferred prey.

“I hope that more of our ideas are considered so we can adjourn on time with a budget that funds all of our shared priorities without unnecessary tax increases. I am eager to meet with my fellow budget leaders in pursuit of that goal.”

The budget was approved on a party-line vote, and now advances to the Senate.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov