After running the comment from state legislator and congressional candidate, Marko Liias, on the budget bill which closed the recent special session in Olympia; I felt it would only be fair to ask the other two members of the legislature who are running for congress (State Representative, Roger Goodman and State Senator, Steve Hobbs), if they would care to comment as well. Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Redmond) was the first of the two to respond. He began by taking issue with Liias’ assertion that they had passed an all cuts budget.
“…we didn’t vote on an “all cuts budget.” Rather, we only approved what the Five Corners [Examiner: The Five Corners refers to the four legislative caucuses and the governor] had agreed to as a small, first step toward balancing the budget – a short-term, stop-gap at best. We’re shifting funds, delaying payments, not filling vacancies and other less controversial measures right now.
I was willing to support this practical resolution to the challenge of a very brief “special” session. The hard work continues now and into the regular session in January, digging into the real issues of whether and how to cut public services, how much new revenue can we raise and from what sources, and what kind of government “reforms” may be considered. At this point, we’re about $500 million down, with $2 billion more to go.
Even only a few in the minority – the chronic dissenters – voted against this early action budget bill. I suppose I could have voted “no” and issued a statement about the need to raise revenue (which I strongly support) and fighting for the 99% (which I’ve done my whole career), but that smacks as political opportunism and grandstanding as a candidate for Congress. There are real, on-the-ground problems out there and balancing the state budget is serious business, so I’m not going to take up air time right now.
In Olympia as we move forward into the 2012 session, there will be pressure for members to go along with a sales tax increase referendum because it’s “easy” for voters to understand. For me, however, balancing the budget even further on the backs of the poor in the 2nd-most regressive tax state in the country (which we are) isn’t very “easy” at all. We have to look more boldly at reducing or cutting tax exemptions which do not yield new revenue, create new jobs or benefit the state economy. A sales tax increase may not prevail at the polls anyway. In any event, we need fairness and stability in our revenue system, but we also need leadership to get us all to the table.”
I appreciate Rep. Goodman taking the time to respond. I will post Sen. Hobbs’ response if and when it comes.