With only eight days left, I want to update you on the status of budget negotiations in the Legislature and a potential government shutdown. Below is a short video I filmed yesterday explaining why we are on the verge of shutdown. Senate Republicans refused to negotiate for months, wasting valuable time. Now we are facing down the consequences of what a government shutdown will do to real families in our state.
Click the image below to watch this short video.
Real people hurt by GOP obstructionism
As an elected representative in Olympia, my job is to stand up for our shared values and fight for issues that affect residents of our district. In a budget year, that means ensuring we fully fund schools, pay for essential state services, and keep our economy moving without overburdening the working and middle class. Despite months of work, there is no budget deal that meets those requirements. Now the government is on the verge of shutting down.
Democrats passed a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fully fund education without cutting essential state services. We did so by proposing a new revenue package that would close costly tax breaks, ask the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share, and reform our business & occupation taxes for small businesses.
Republican proposed a budget that cut housing and child care service programs, restricted local control of schools, and raised property taxes a historic $5.5 billion across the state—but mostly on property owners in King County. Democrats have rejected that proposal and, for two months, asked Republicans to join us at the bargaining table to negotiate a fair compromise. As of yet, no compromise has been met even though Democrats have offered compromise proposals.
We can’t sacrifice our values or cut essential services in order to appease Republican opposition to taxing the wealthiest in our state. Republicans absolutely must compromise to stop this shutdown. Their obstruction to date is completely unacceptable; they are not negotiating in good faith.
Failure to do so has devastating impacts all across Washington. Here is a short list of what will happen if the Legislature fails to pass a budget by June 30:
- Without a compromise, 33,000 state workers will be laid off with barely a week’s notice.
- State park reservations, including those for nearly 11,000 families over the 4th of July holiday weekend, will be cancelled.
- About 18,000 paroled ex-inmates will no longer receive supervision.
- State food and housing assistance programs will go unfunded, resulting in 7,100 vulnerable adults, children, and families potentially receiving eviction notices.
- When the Greenwood neighborhood explosion happened, there was an emergency response from the state and an inspection that ultimately lead to a settlement. Without the government functioning, railway and pipeline inspections will also stop.
- In many of our neighborhoods, older residents receive daily meal services. They rely on those meals to survive, as do 50,000 other seniors across the state. That service ceases to exist under government shutdown.
- For our veterans, a government shutdown means over 2,000 former service members and their family will no longer receive PTSD counseling. Benefit specialists will no longer be available for veterans seeking housing, health care, or employment assistance.
- Shellfish won’t be tested. Millions of fish will be at risk of dying in state hatcheries without workers to maintain them—and the result could mean up to six years before they are fully recovered. Discover Passes, and fishing and hunting licenses, will not be issued.
It is past time for Republicans to step back from their “my way or the highway” approach to governing. They must compromise with Democratic leadership in the House and end this DC-style obstructionism. Only when they negotiate in good faith and compromise on spending and revenue can we avert a government shutdown that will hurt millions of families across the state.
Senate GOP plan gives big tax break to Boeing, Walmart
House Democrats proposed a budget and revenue package that asks the wealthiest among us and large corporations to pay a fair share for essential state services and K-12 education. The Senate Republican plan raises property taxes on the Puget Sound region for working and middle class families. But large corporations, like Boeing and Walmart, get tax breaks.
Please read this article from The Olympian on how the Senate GOP plan benefits wealthy corporations instead of average Washington families.