Rep. Ross Hunter response to Senate Republican Budget Release

Rep. Ross Hunter

“Now that both proposals are public, I look forward to beginning negotiations with the budget leaders in both chambers. Getting the negotiation process started right away is critical to reaching our goal of passing an operating budget that works for all Washington families.

“While I haven’t had a chance to review their proposal in detail as it was only made public a few hours before the Senate Ways & Means committee meeting, at first glance I see several items of concern.

“First and foremost, their budget relies on unsustainable one-time budget transfers and overly optimistic assumptions of marijuana revenue. They transfer hundreds of millions away from already-struggling local governments, taking away money that’s used to create jobs that build and maintain our state’s infrastructure.

“The Senate’s budget assumes millions in magic agency ‘efficiencies,’ which are essentially budget gimmicks designed to make cuts without being specific about which cuts they’re making. It also undermines the collective bargaining process by not honoring the negotiated contract agreements for state employees.

“But most importantly, it completely kicks the can down the road on solving the problem of our broken revenue structure. We have the most regressive tax structure in the nation. Costs for state and local services are balanced on the backs of low-income and middle-class families while the wealthy pay only a tiny fraction of their income in taxes.

“The House budget proposal is a responsible approach to fully funding basic education by building a more progressive revenue structure while also solving the problems of our current operating budget shortfall. I believe our proposal is the better option for moving this state forward.”

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