OLYMPIA — The Senate passed the supplemental budget Monday evening, joining the House in a spending plan that tries to fill an estimated $2.8 billion hole in the state’s two-year operating budget.
On a 25-21 vote, it added its approval to the budget approved a few hours earlier across the Capitol.
Republicans, who were unanimous in their opposition, said the bill was being forced through without careful consideration, in the closing hours of the session, and has significant problems.
“Voting on a budget is a big decision,” Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville said. “Those who are going to vote for it, have you read it?”
Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, said the Legislature spent the month of a special session, figuring out how to raise taxes, not making any changes to a broken system.
Some Democrats also refused to support the budget. Sen. Rodney Tom of Bellevue said it doesn’t grasp the reality of the economy, and sets up education to fail.
But Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said the economy is cyclical, and when times are tough, the demand for state services go up. “Just when the gap opens up, we need it the most. Many things are going to cost more, but we did the right thing..”
The budget has cuts as well as tax increases, Brown said, and no one say it’s perfect. “We are not a Legislature of 1. This job gets done by working together.”
Sen. Cheryl Pflug, R-Maple Valley, an economic downturn is not the time to implement all day kindergarten or a major energy savings construction plan. “How can we say it suddenly became a crisis to add these programs?” It may not be a Legislature of 1, she added “but it is a Legislature of one party.”