OLYMPIA – As several hundred protesters chanted about corporate greed and demanded tax increases, House budget writers gathered to decide which of two plans to cut billions from state programs they would endorse.
The state’s budgeting process, which is facing serious time constraints as the Legislature slogged through Day 87 of its 105-day session, featured competing spending plans in the House. Republicans unveiled their alternative budget Wednesday afternoon, proposing more cuts from health insurance and disability programs but spends more on public schools.
To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.
“We are giving the voters…a much more responsible alternative,” Rep. Gary Alexander of Olympia, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee said. To read more about the House GOP budget proposal, click here.
In all, the House Republican proposal cuts an additional $300 million in state spending. Like the Democratic budget, proposes no new taxes, increases of existing taxes or closure of any of the hundreds of tax exemptions.
Both plans are wrong to protesters who streamed into the Capitol Wednesday afternoon with signs and banners demanding a budget with more money for programs supported by the elimination of tax exemptions for businesses. A crowd estimated by the Washington State Patrol at about 300 held a rally in the rotunda, then marched across the parking lot to the House Office Building where the Ways and Means Committee was deciding which of the two budget proposals to send to the floor.
After the hearing room filled up, protesters paraded through the marbled hallways, circled out of the building, then rushed the windows outside the hearing room to shout such chants as “Hey-hey, Ho-ho, corporate breaks have got to go” and “Money for health and education not for banks and corporations.”
They moved away from the windows and onto the sidewalk when state troopers told them to get off the rain-soaked lawn or be arrested.