Statement from Rep. Matt Shea on House supplemental operating budget

The House of Representatives voted Friday evening, 55-43, to approve a supplemental operating budget that will be funded by nearly a billion dollars of tax increases, anticipated federal stimulus money, draining the state’s “rainy-day” fund, and raiding money from dedicated accounts.

Saying that it would be the largest tax increase in the state’s history, Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane, voted against Senate Bill 6444 and released this statement:

“Anytime the Legislature increases taxes, it severely affects the 4th District, which is right next to the Idaho border. Tax increases will force businesses to shut down and move to Idaho, which is only 10 miles away and has a better business climate.

“During the debate, some of the Democrats were blaming our budget problems on federal spending for the war. As a veteran who served to defend our country in Iraq, I’m deeply offended they would attempt to deflect responsibility for this budget mess by blaming it on the war. The true reason we have this budget crisis is because majority Democrats could not control their spending. In the 2005-07 budget cycle, the state had a $1.8 billion surplus, but Democrats spent far more than that. Everyone knows you cannot spend more money than you take in, or soon you will be in trouble. They set up our state for this deep deficit long before the recession hit. It’s outrageous to say this train wreck is due to federal spending, when the truth is that Democrats in the state Legislature put us in this situation.

“In this budget, the Legislature has failed to address the root problem of overspending which created a $2.7 billion deficit. Instead, the Democrat majority is increasing taxes by nearly a billion dollars and cutting spending by only 1 percent. That says it all.”


Quick budget facts:

  • The operating budget is on a two-year cycle, with midcourse adjustments made in even-numbered years through a supplemental version. It is facing a $2.7 billion shortfall.
  • The operating budget is the largest of the state’s three main budgets, along with the capital and transportation budgets, and pays for K-12 schools, corrections and public safety programs, government and judicial operations, higher education, and health and human services.
  • The $30.678 billion House supplemental operating budget seeks to close the $2.7 billion budget shortfall through:
    • new tax increases ($857 million – largest tax increase in state history);
    • federal funds ($641 million);
    • state fund transfers ($236 million);
    • spending cuts ($653 million); and
    • the state rainy day fund ($229 million).
  • With the recent suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act (Initiative 960) through Senate Bill 6130, only a simple majority in the Legislature (50 state representatives and 25 state senators) is needed to increase taxes. Not one Republican in either the House or Senate voted for Senate Bill 6130.
  • The state had a $1.8 billion surplus in the 2005-07 budget cycle, driven by extraordinary real estate excise tax revenue. State spending grew by 33 percent, or more than $8 billion, from 2005 to 2008.

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CONTACT: John Sattgast, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7257


Washington State House Republican Communications