Partial budget solution better than nothing, but falls short, says Hargrove

With the 2011 second special session wrapped up for the holidays, Rep. Mark Hargrove believes budget leaders in the majority party could have done more to address the spending gap created when they passed an unsustainable budget last May. The special session adjourned Dec. 14 after passing a bill that makes a $479 million adjustment to the $2 billion spending gap the state is facing. The $479 million in spending adjustments included the use of federal money to replace state dollars, one-time fund transfers, unclaimed property cash and slight reductions to certain programs based on caseload changes.

“I think we can all agree that when the governor announced in September there would be a special session at the end of November, there was plenty of time for substantial progress in the budget negotiations in the House and Senate,” said Hargrove, R-Covington. “Instead, majority leaders came to Olympia unprepared to offer solutions, leading to a lot of wasted time and tax dollars. We made some slight progress by passing a partial fix to the spending problem, but in my opinion it wasn’t enough to call it a successful effort.”

Hargrove added that while House Republicans waited on the majority party to take action, they used the time to clarify their priorities of government and prepare to resolve the complete budget problem in 2012 within that framework.

“There were times during the special session when the House Republicans were the only legislators on campus,” Hargrove said. “While I’m frustrated with the partial remedy to the budget problem, I feel great about the work our caucus accomplished. When we come back in January, our priorities will be clear and we’ll have real, sustainable solutions. When we invite the majority party to join us, I’m hopeful we can really work together to balance the budget, while preserving education, public safety and protection of our truly vulnerable.”

The 2012 regular session begins Jan. 9, and is scheduled to last 60 days


Washington State House Republican Communications