The special session of the Washington State Legislature has adjourned; passing what many there are referring to as a “down payment” on the continuing budget woes facing our state. As I reported here on Tuesday, the House was in the process of reviewing a bill that would shave some $480 million from the projected $2 billion deficit.
“The budget deal will eliminate some $480 Million from the budget through a combination of spending reductions and reclaiming unspent dollars. About $226 Million will come from a reduction in spending throughout state government while another $180 Million will come from funds left unspent from the previous budget and savings due to lower-than-expected costs in a variety of existing programs.”
On Wednesday, the House passed the bill by a vote of 86-8 and the Senate followed quickly with a vote of 42-6. While most Republicans in the legislature expressed disappointment that the bill did not go far enough, most Democrats said that they were satisfied with the down payment and that they felt they needed more time to deal with the more contentious solutions to the overall problem and would address them when they return for the next regular session in January.
Not all Democrats were pleased with the results, however. Rep. Marko Liias (D-21st LD) was one of the 8 who voted against the bill in the House. I asked him why.
“As a progressive, I was disappointed that this special session didn’t address the real problem with our state budget, a lack of revenue. Instead, we approved a partial fix that relied on one-time fund transfers and more cuts. I decided last session that this all-cuts approach no longer works for our people; we need to grow our economy by investing in education, jobs, and a strong safety net. We have now cut more than $10 billion dollars, and it is time that we ask the 1% to pay their fair share so we can all live in a state that is compassionate, fair, and vibrant. Instead of listening to the voices of the everyday Washingtonians that occupied that Capitol at the beginning of the session, we let go of this chance to lead our state in a better direction. Until we have a real conversation about how we can stand with middle class families and fund the core state services we all depend on, I will continue to oppose all-cuts budget bills. We can’t cut our way to recovery.”
Liias is one of 7 announced Democratic candidates seeking 1st CD seat being vacated by Jay Inslee as he seeks the governor’s mansion in 2012.