Republicans in Washington state assailed Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2022 supplemental budget for not including any tax relief.
Given that the state is flush with revenues, Republicans questioned why Inslee’s nearly $62 billion budget didn’t return some of that money to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut.
Revenue projections show overall revenues have increase $3.6 billion for the current biennium and $4.1 billion for the next biennium as compared to the first revenue forecast of the year in March.
“Despite the continued toll of the pandemic, most sectors of Washington’s economy are thriving,” said Rep. Drew Stokesbary, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee and House Republican budget lead, in a statement Thursday following the release of Inslee’s budget plan. “Stave revenue growth is the second strongest in the country and tax collections have doubled since their pre-Great Recession peak. As a result, the Legislature will enter the 2022 session with a four-year surplus of $8.8 billion, the highest in the last 20 years.”
He went on to note, “At a time when the state is overwhelmed with cash, it is disappointing, though not surprising, to see that the governor’s budget proposal does not include any tax relief for the families who have struggled through the pandemic and who are now experiencing the highest rate of inflation since 1982. Instead, the governor wants to spend our entire surplus on growing state government even more. I share his intentions regarding the homelessness crisis and salmon restoration, but his approaches have yet to make serious progress on these issues during his decade in office.”
It’s time for a change in Washington state, Stokesbary argued.
“Washingtonians cannot accept more of the same,” he said. “We should not squander this generational opportunity. House Republicans will instead continue to fight to lower taxes for families across the state and insist on policies that produce results, not just more bureaucracy.”
State Sen. Mark Schoesler, representing the sprawling rural 9th Legislative District in southeast Washington state that borders Oregon and Idaho, echoed those sentiments.
“We have $10 billion (in additional revenue) available this biennium and the next, if you count the rainy day funds – which we don’t want to spend,” the Ritzville, Washington-based Republican told The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune. “We’re also going to see some dollars from the federal infrastructure bill. With all of that, the average hard-working taxpayer needs something back.”
Washington State Republican Party Chair Caleb Heimlich piled on.
“In spite of an $8.8 billion (!) budget surplus, Gov. Inslee is still unwilling to reduce any taxes on hardworking Washington families,” he said in statement responding to Inslee’s budget plan. “People are suffering through the worst inflation since 1982, and after struggling to make it through the pandemic Gov. Inslee is still unwilling to grant much needed relief. Republicans can and will do better for the people of Washington state.
“During Jay Inslee’s tenure as governor the state budget has grown from $31.12 billion in 2012 to over $62 billion. This rate of growth is not sustainable and not in line with household income over the same period. We need new leadership and a better approach to our state’s finances.”
At Thursday’s budget rollout press conference, Inslee didn’t completely reject the possibility of a tax cut, but suggested it wasn’t something he was likely to support.
“The need for expenditures is going to go on,” he said. “I believe the things we’ve proposed respond responsibly to the crises we face. I’m not sure – in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a mental health crisis, in the middle of a homelessness crisis – that’s really the right moment to be doing big tax cuts.”
This article was originally posted on GOP blasts Inslee’s proposed 2022 supplemental budget over no tax cuts