Statement from Rep. Vincent Buys on state revenue forecast
The state’s chief economist Dr. Arun Raha issued an updated state revenue forecast today predicting a $1.4 billion drop in revenue over the next biennium, leaving a $1.27 billion shortfall for the 2011-13 budget.
Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, issued the following statement:
“With our revenue projections continuing to decline it is essential we focus on what we can do to slow the decline and get our economy growing again. We need to get people back to work, and get government out of the way of our employers. Last session we made changes to unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation, but we left many other opportunities on the table to assist our businesses and strengthen our economy. We introduced legislation that would have doubled the small business B&O tax credit, required permits to be granted or denied within 90 days, made unfunded mandates on schools and local governments optional, and suspended new rule making until 2014. All this legislation and many other pieces died in committee.
“Despite the projected drop in revenue, we are still expected to bring in an additional $2.1 billion more next biennium. That is 7 percent growth. I expect some elected officials will want to consider options to increase revenue such as taxes and fees. We will have some difficult decisions, but additional revenue options are unnecessary. You cannot take more money out of people’s pockets when our unemployment rate remains high and there are no signs of it dropping in the near future. How can you tell the public state government needs more money when we have a high percentage of people not working? You cannot look to employers for more money when they are not hiring and many continue to struggle to keep their doors open. Relying on new spending simply allows us to delay making necessary reforms to ensure a fiscally responsible and sustainable state budget in the future.
“We need to stop adding new programs and cut programs completely if we are not providing them the funds they need to function properly. This is a waste of taxpayer dollars and the programs lack real results. Let’s prioritize our spending and eliminate programs we cannot afford.
“The longer we wait, the worse the situation will be and the more difficult our decisions. I hope we have the opportunity to address this in the near future.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications