Fri., Feb. 13, 2009
Senate, House pass first round of cuts…belt-tightening metaphor now extended to trousers…
The state Senate and House this morning each approved spending cuts this morning, in the first of what will be several whacks at state spending.
"For those that say you want to cut more, just sit in your seats," said House budget writer Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham. "You'll have a chance."
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, clearly responding to Gov. Chris Gregoire's criticism of lawmakers' budget-cutting pace earlier in the week, said that no Washington legislature has ever approved budget reductions this early in a legislative session.
Brown also said lawmakers were proud to preserve a state plan to allow families living on up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($63,600 for a family of 4) to buy into the state's health insurance plan for kids.
"The sacred cow here is kids' health," she said in a press release. "We are keeping a commitment."
In the House, Rep. Gary Alexander said that the bill there is a first step in state belt-tightening. But he warned that "we're going to have to go many, many, many notches further."
Pushing the metaphor further, Alexander suggested that lawmakers might, in fact, have to "take our pants off and go back and purchase a pair that are about three sizes smaller."