Governor calls for special session; Buys says we must pass sustainable budget this time
Gov. Chris Gregoire announced today she will call for the Legislature to convene for a 30-day special session beginning Nov. 28, 2011. Her decision comes after the state's chief economist reported last week Washington can expect another $1.4 billion drop in tax collections over the next biennium, creating an estimated shortfall of $1.27 billion in the 2011-13 general fund budget.
Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden, agrees the budget shortfall should be addressed sooner rather than later.
“We cannot wait until the regular session in January. I understand waiting for the November revenue forecast and allowing our budget negotiators and staff to work on the numbers over the next couple months, but we must pass a budget in this next special session that is actually sustainable and provides real reforms,” Buys said.
Buys, who issued a statement in May opposing the budget because it lacked long-term solutions, says it is time to quit taking bits and pieces out of programs, and eliminate them if they aren't going to be effective. He adds the Legislature also needs to address what is actually hurting the state's budget and revenue, which is jobs.
“Obviously our economic recovery is much slower than anticipated and this is hurting our budget because tax collections are down significantly. We can at least provide some tools to assist employers and create private-sector jobs. The governor mentioned that in her press conference today. Getting people back to work has to be the top priority the 2012 legislative session. Our caucus has been saying 'Let's get Washington working again' since the beginning of this economic downturn,” he said.
“Unemployment remains too high, we are not generating any new business in our state, and employers are not hiring,” Buys added. “Until we see some changes in these factors the Legislature must do things differently when it comes to the budget.”
Rep. Buys was worried about the timing of the special session but was relieved that it wouldn't fall during his annual November trip to Haiti with Starfish Ministries to drill wells.
“I'm glad that along with serving the people in Whatcom county and Washington state, I am still able to use my time and abilities to serve those suffering in Haiti.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications