House Republicans say majority party leadership should focus on negotiating in good faith

'What we're seeing from the majority party in Olympia goes beyond the culture of failure they've perpetuated these past few years; it moves into the realm of intentionally creating failure in order to cast blame on others as we head into an election,' says Kretz

As the first 30-day special session of 2012 enters its last week, members of the state House of Representatives were called back to Olympia to hold committee meetings and possibly vote on a handful of bills. However, House Deputy Republican Leader Rep. Joel Kretz said there's been no agreement on the budget and called the move to bring legislators back to Olympia a “political ploy” by the majority party in an effort to purposefully create failure.

“What we're seeing from the majority party in Olympia goes beyond the culture of failure they've perpetuated these past few years,” said Kretz, R-Wauconda. “It moves into the realm of intentionally creating failure in order to cast blame on others as we head into an election. It's a public relations move; it's a partisan political move and it's not what the citizens and taxpayers of this state expect from their elected leaders.”

Kretz said that with no budget agreement between majority Democrats in the House and the bipartisan philosophical majority in the Senate, any effort to bring legislators back to Olympia to hold hearings and vote on bills is a disingenuous waste of taxpayer dollars. In addition, the new budget proposal passed today by House Democrats spends more money than their original plan and moves them further away from the negotiating table.

“It looks like the majority party in Olympia has decided to take their ball and go home,” said Kretz. “They are not negotiating in good faith. They are trying to ram their version of a budget solution down everyone's throat. It's their way or the highway. It looks to me like they are purposefully and very intentionally creating an atmosphere of failure so they can point fingers and deflect the blame. While it might make for a great campaign speech down the road, it makes for poor leadership and poor public policy today.”

Legislators have been trying to deal with a projected state budget shortfall since last November when the governor called lawmakers back to Olympia for another special session. At that time, House Republicans wanted the Legislature to quickly reach a budget compromise and then skip the 2012 session entirely, saving the state millions in taxpayer dollars. But the Legislature took only a small bite out of the deficit pie and then reassured the public that efforts toward a long-term budget solution would begin in earnest as soon as the 2012 session began.

Kretz says that didn't happen.

“The majority party leadership waited until the final weeks of session to release their budget proposals. They left little time for discussion or debate,” Kretz said. “When their budget plans – which were comprised of gimmicks, additional taxes, and no significant budget reforms whatsoever – didn't pass muster with Republicans in the House or the bipartisan philosophical majority in the Senate, they quit. It appears now as if they never intended to reach a compromise budget through bipartisan negotiations in the first place.”

House Republicans are also concerned that job-creating policies have been ignored by House Democrats.

“We have a package of bills that would get Washington working again but they have been completely ignored,” Kretz said. “Simple solutions that revamp the permitting process for projects, give start-up businesses some tax relief and reign in state agency rule making and regulations, could not even get a hearing. If we are going to turn our state economy around, we need to empower the private sector to hire and expand. Right now, employers are sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what additional blow Olympia will deal them. If we get people back to work, we will collect more taxes which will help get our state budget in balance. It's a shame good ideas that would actually help citizens and begin to solve our state budget problem are considered 'dead on arrival' because they are Republican ideas.”

For Kretz, it all goes back to one fact – one-party control has led to failure.

“The failed leadership of the majority party has led to five special sessions in the last two years. But now it seems they are not just passively content with more failure by the Legislature – they are actively working toward that end,” Kretz said. “There's still time to reach a consensus on a responsible, sustainable and accountable budget solution before the end of the 30-day special session. But unless the majority party stops the political games and begins negotiating in good faith, I don't see it happening.”

The first 30-day special session of 2012 is scheduled to end April 10.

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

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov