Deputy House Republican Leader Joel Kretz comments on state budget

Budget spends as much as 2007-09, structure for sustainability missing

The Washington State House of Representatives tonight passed the state operating budget. Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, voted against the budget and issued the following statement:

“We have people out of work and finding creative ways to stretch their dollars to afford the basics, but with the budget passed today it's clear Olympia doesn't operate the same way. The spending choices in the budget set us up for what could be a $10 billion shortfall in the next budget cycle.

“The budget doesn't prioritize spending. Budget writers cut levy equalization by 16 percent, which hurts small, rural school districts. The wealthy districts will be just fine under this 'reverse Robin Hood scheme.' Ironically, the budget includes millions for the University of Washington's Life Sciences Department. How can kids get to these institutions if we don't fund our schools? What really upsets me is that there's a grizzly bear study that will cost $150,000 and an expensive sea lettuce eradication project in the budget, but the deep cuts come out of school budgets and programs for the most vulnerable. I am in total disbelief. Where are the Democrats' priorities?

“If you look at this budget, we were $9 billion in the red. Democrats used $3 billion in one-time federal money, raided $777 million from the capital budget, skipped a $449 million pension payment, took $445 from the rainy-day fund and pilfered $160 million from other cash accounts to fill in $5 billion of the shortfall. This money will not be available again for the 2011 budget. Leaving the next Legislature with the mess the current majority has created is not leadership – it's punting.

“I knew the budget situation was bad, but it hit me today when the budget arrived at my office that this is far beyond 'bad' – it's insane. The budget is completely irresponsible and will set up families and employers for higher taxes. Washingtonians deserve leaders who make the tough choices. I believe citizens will be sorely disappointed.”

For more information, contact: Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer: (360) 786-7252

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov