Posts tagged: state budgets
OLYMPIA – With the bare minimum votes needed and debate over taxes yet to come, Senate Democrats passed a general fund budget Saturday designed to close the state’s $2.8 billion budget gap.
Even without a firm decision on which taxes to add or alter to raise more than $900 million in extra revenue, the combination of programs cut, reserves tapped and federal funds gave almost everyone in the chamber something to dislike.
Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Seattle, called it an ugly budget for an ugly time. And as the chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, it’s her budget.
Senate Republicans swung between complaints that the proposal doesn’t cut enough in tough economic times, and cut programs that do valuable work that they support.
Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, who is one of the staunchest opponents of any tax increase and among the most vociferous against Democrats’ decision to suspend the super-majorities needed to enact such hikes – said the proposal was wrong to cut the Frances Haddon Morgan Center in Bremerton for children and adults with autism, whom he said were among the most vulnerable in society.
“Some of these cuts in this budget are just too severe and too painful to people in the community,” Benton said.
Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, called the more than $800 million in budget cuts “token savings”. The initial proposal didn’t cut enough, and money for individual members’ projects got added back during committee hearings at the rate of “a million here, a million there.”
“We are fiddling while Rome burns,” he complained.
No, said Senate Majority Leader, Lisa Brown, D-Spokane: “On the contrary, senator, we are passing a budget. We are moving the process forward.”
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OLYMPIA — The state Senate is taking up the suspension of various provisions of Initiative 960 again this evening.
The House has sent the suspension back, and it means a straight up or down vote.
Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said the House did one good thing, which was adding back the notification provisions of the tax impacts of any proposals.
But the rest of it is still bad, he said. It still should have the requirements that every legislators record on tax votes be printed in the voters pamphlet, and the advisory vote in November of any tax that’s increased.
“Every legislator should welcome the advice of the people,” said Benton, who recently announced his campaign for U.S. Senate.
Republicans can’t amend the bill. So debate has begun.