On Sunday, the Legislature adjourned the 2021 legislative session by passing an operating budget that spends a record $58.9 billion over the previous biennium, an increase of $7 billion or 13.6%.
The spending plan passed on a party-line vote in the House of Representatives, 57-40. Rep. Keith Goehner, R-Dryden, issued the following statement:
"There are some very important priorities funded in the operating budget such as the Working Families Tax Credit, long-term forest health management, the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, and public health.
"However, this was not a budget I could support. The minority party was left out of the budget negotiations, and we, along with the public, did not see the final 1,100-page budget document until Day 104 of the 105-day session. Our state government needs to be more transparent and accountable.
"This budget also continues a concerning pattern of increased spending. I fear as we come out of the pandemic with the unknowns surrounding our economy, this spending plan is unsustainable. Spending has increased 74% since 2013.
"There was enough taxpayer revenue this session to fund priority issues without cutting vital services. Unfortunately, this budget not only increases spending more than 13%, but it includes a capital gains income tax that is unnecessary and likely unconstitutional. It also drains the rainy day fund.
"With a more bipartisan approach, we could have come up with a fiscally-responsible, long-term budget plan that would benefit working families and our communities during a time of economic uncertainty."
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Washington State House Republicans