Why the Senate Republican budget will not work for Washington
House Democrats knew the Senate Republican budget proposal would rely on cuts that harm our children, families and our state in order to balance their budget. But what the Senate Republicans proposed on Tuesday shows just how little regard they have for people who are struggling in our state. Many of the cuts they make are not just harmful to kids, families, and communities; they are shortsighted and would end up costing our state more in the long run.
Budgets are moral documents. The spending decisions we make as a legislature have real impacts on our most vulnerable Washingtonians. The Senate Republican budget proposal, like the budget proposed by President Trump, are immoral – lacking compassion and understanding for people who are hungry, sick, disabled and impoverished.
Decimating the Safety Net
The Senate Republican budget proposal is unconscionable, particularly cuts to:
- Housing and Essential Need: The Senate Republican budget cuts $100 million from housing assistance programs, including programs aimed at ending youth homelessness.
- Working Connections Childcare and Early Achievers: The Senate Republican budget cuts a combined $125 million from these programs, which support working parents and improve early learning and childcare programs across Washington – resulting in a lost of 3,400 desperately-needed child care slots.
- TANF/WorkFirst: To backfill cuts they make to student financial aid, the Senate Republican budget takes money from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and WorkFirst.
Read more about some of the main concerns with the Republican budget proposal in this blog post.
Property Taxes on the Elderly
In addition to cutting the safety net, the Senate Republican budget relies on a $5.5 billion property tax increase. I’m glad to see that Republicans have finally acknowledged new revenue is needed to fully fund education, but a massive property tax that burdens the elderly, working families, and the middle class is not the way to go.
Washington state already has one of the most unfair tax systems in the country. A property tax increase is regressive, targeting geographic areas and only makes the system worse. No matter how it’s framed, the property tax proposal is a MASSIVE tax increase on Puget Sound families and homeowners, hitting seniors especially hard.
House Budget to Come
House Democrats are finalizing our budget proposal which will represent our shared values by helping working families, fully funding K-12 schools, continuing to fix our mental health system, closing the opportunity gap, and supporting at-risk youth – all without relying on increases to regressive taxes that hurt our must vulnerable. Budget writers from the House and Senate will come together to begin negotiating a final, compromised budget in the next few weeks.
As the process continues, I will remain a staunch advocate for the people and values of the 41st district and will fight to ensure that we don’t fund our schools at the expense of our social safety net, or on the backs of families and seniors.
Thank you for a successful town hall!
This past weekend Sen. Lisa Wellman, Rep. Judy Clibborn, and I held our annual town hall at Somerset Elementary School in Bellevue. We had over a hundred constituents from across the district participate and it was truly an amazing opportunity to be able to chat directly with our constituents on the issues that matter most.
Audience questions touched practically every topic we have before us in the legislature: from education funding and the levy cliff, transportation, mental health and substance abuse, to affordable housing and the social safety net, environmental protections, taxes, immigration and the federal executive orders.
A sincere thank you to those who attended, and as always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments you may have!
Rep. Tana Senn