House Republicans Unveil State Operating Budget Proposal

[AUDIO] Washington House Republicans unveiled their operating budget proposal Tuesday. The framework, they say, would fund priorities for working families, growing students, vulnerable populations, small businesses, and all of Washington, with no cuts to vital services and no new taxes. Washington House Republicans’ John Sattgast reports.

SATTGAST: House Republicans say the two-year operating budget proposal includes just over six-billion dollars in savings, many of which were recommended by state agencies as part of their budget evaluation exercise directed by Governor Inslee last year. Yet, no vital services are affected.

In addition, it appropriates 1-point-8 billion dollars from the state’s rainy-day fund to pay for one-time, COVID-related relief and expenses. This includes a tax credit for working families, additional money for schools and students who have fallen behind academically, and tax relief for restaurants and other hard-hit businesses

Auburn Representative Drew Stokesbary is the House Republican budget leader. . . 

STOKESBARY: “Unlike the governor’s plan, it doesn’t raise taxes on anything or anybody. In fact, it cuts taxes a little bit. It cuts taxes for some of the businesses that were hardest hit by the shutdowns and it reduces sales tax on some basic household necessities. So, we fund the exact same important programs as the governor. We fund several additional programs as the governor. And we do it by cutting taxes, rather than raising taxes.”

SATTGAST: Money is included for childcare, foster care, rental assistance, charter schools, broadband access, addressing the issue of homelessness, forest management and reopening schools and the economy. Stokesbary said it’s a fiscally responsible, sustainable plan that provides real solutions and help at a time when Washington citizens need it the most. John Sattgast, the state Capitol.

Washington House Republicans release 2021-23 operating budget framework

Details:

Washington House Republicans released their 2021-23 operating budget framework at a news conference today. Ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Drew Stokesbary, says it is not necessary for state lawmakers to raise taxes or cut any vital services as they craft a two-year operating budget this legislative session.

“This budget framework demonstrates that it is indeed possible to fund the state’s existing needs and emergency priorities without raising taxes or cutting vital services,” said Stokesbary, R-Auburn. “This isn’t a budget that will grow government or serve special interests, it’s a proposal that will help people – working families, growing students, vulnerable people, small businesses, and all Washingtonians.”

Stokesbary began developing the proposal last summer when Republicans were asking and preparing for a special session that was never called by Governor Jay Inslee.

Rep. Kelly Chambers, assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and ranking member on the House College and Workforce Development Committee, believes the budget framework prioritizes vulnerable populations.

“We offer hope and more resources for vulnerable Washingtonians, including those who are struggling with mental health issues and homelessness,” said Chambers, R-Puyallup. “We also help students who have fallen behind academically and assist low-income families with the costs of remote learning.”

Rep. Chris Corry, assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and assistant floor leader, says the proposal is designed to help communities that are struggling as result of extended shutdown orders.

“This proposal offers a hand to families in need, including child care options and sales tax exemptions. It also does not raise taxes on anyone or anything,” said Corry, R-Yakima. “We also invest more in public health without raising taxes on health care plans like the governor has proposed.”

Rep. Drew MacEwen, assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and assistant floor leader, highlights that the plan assists small businesses in need of relief and provides certainty for the future.

“Small businesses should not be punished for the state’s failure to prevent unemployment insurance fraud. It’s fundamentally unfair,” said MacEwen, R-Union. “Our plan replenishes the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund and offers temporary B&O tax relief for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Stokesbary says the proposal reveals Washington House Republicans’ priorities, including funding the working families tax credit.

“This budget treats working families as a priority, not a talking point,” said Stokesbary, who also sits on the House Finance Committee. “By funding the working families tax credit, reducing sales taxes, reopening schools, addressing the homelessness crisis, and improving our environment, Republicans have shown what our values are.”

The 105-legislative session is scheduled to run through April 25.

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