Special session begins with bill to put state in deeper debt

Rep. Matt Shea says taxpayers would be saddled with 25 years of repayment for 10 months of work


The saying goes, “When you’ve dug yourself into a deep hole, quit digging.” As the Legislature returns this week in special session to address a $2.7 billion budget hole, the first measure passed by the Democrat majority in the House was a bill that would put the state deeper into debt.

House Bill 2561 proposes to issue $861 million in general obligation bonds (money the state would borrow) to pay for energy retrofitting of schools and other public facilities. Because the bond issue would push the state beyond its 9 percent constitutional debt limit, voters would be asked in November to approve it.

Democrat sponsors call the bill the “Jobs Act,” saying it would create jobs in the construction trades. However, Rep. Matt Shea, who voted against the measure, says the “jobs” would last only 10 months, but taxpayers would be stuck with the bill for the next 25 years at a price tag of $1.5 billion.

“Government does not create jobs — that’s basic economics. All money to fund government comes from taxpayers, small businesses and the private sector. While the majority party is working overtime to raise your taxes, they are also mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren,” said Shea, R-Spokane Valley. “They claim this bill would create jobs, when in reality the only jobs the majority Democrats are trying to save are their own. This is more deficit spending. The idea we can borrow ourselves into prosperity is delusional.”

Proponents claim energy savings from the retrofits would to help pay the costs, but Shea noted the projected savings are wildly exaggerated and could end up costing taxpayers more in the future.

“They claim the ‘projected energy savings’ are an asset against which the state can borrow money — $861 million to be exact.  Creating ‘assets’ and ‘value’ out of thin air is what led to the national housing and banking crisis in the first place,” added Shea. “Here we are starting a special session at a cost to taxpayers of $18,000 a day, and the very first vote is to mortgage Washington’s future.”

The measure passed the House 54-39.

Democrats, who control the House schedule, had lawmakers work about 2 1/2 hours today voting on 15 bills before going at ease at 3 p.m. The special session began Monday and could last up to 30 days.

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


Washington State House Republican Communications