Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yesterday was sine die, which means the last day of the 2012 regular session. However, once again we are going to have a special session, which starts Monday. This will be the fifth special session in two years. I believe our time is being extended due to a lack of leadership by the majority party.
You may have heard about what happened in the Senate last week and how it has resulted in our needing more time. But, that is not really the case. House Republicans came to Olympia in January with a plan of action to address the budget gap. We have been talking about a solution for the budget since the first day of this session.
What occurred in the Senate was: the minority party, the Republicans, with the help of three Democrats, took the reins with a little used parliamentary move known as the ninth order of business, by a 25-24 vote. Their reason was understandable; like House members they are tired of budgets that rely on gimmicks. We want the Legislature to make the same financial sacrifices that are being made by many families.
The result was a bipartisan budget passed out of the Senate. The budget represented the majority, not partisan politics, and was very similar to the one proposed by House Republicans. However, it was stripped and changed within one day.
The altered version, Senate Bill 5967, was brought to the House floor last night for a vote. This budget is not sustainable. As I said in my floor speech, Webster’s dictionary defines sustainable as, “able to be supported by basic necessity or sufficient funds.” This budget is not backed by sufficient funds.
The Legislature is not being responsible to the citizens of Washington by passing this House budget, as currently written. It relies on delaying a $330 million payment to our K-12 schools – also called apportionment. The Seattle Times called it a “gimmick” and “trick,” but it is much more serious than that. We are borrowing to get out of debt; that is being irresponsible with taxpayer money and trust.
We tried, without success, to amend this budget. If we had been able to amend it we wouldn’t be coming back for another special session. The Senate would have concurred, or agreed, with us. However, the House narrowly passed an operating budget proposal.
There is much more that happened on sine die and will occur in the following days. For now, I am returning home until Monday. I will continue to keep you informed about our fight for a sustainable budget. Thank you again for all of your support, questions, and concerns this session. I always welcome hearing from you regarding issues that affect you.