Statement from Rep. Mark Hargrove on end of regular 2012 legislative session, special session ahead
As time wound down in the 60-day legislative session March 8, the end result was a session that yielded no results for taxpayers in Washington state. The Legislature adjourned Sine Die without a supplemental state budget plan to solve the nearly $1.1 billion spending gap. Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, expressed his disappointment with the lack of leadership by the majority party that has led to yet another special session and issued the following statement:
“Despite the governor's and majority party's promises that the state supplemental budget would be the focus from Day One of the 2012 legislative session, lawmakers in the majority party dawdled around on policies wholly unrelated to addressing state spending. The budget seemed to be the last priority of the majority party, not the first as promised.
“It is extremely frustrating to know that by last Friday we had four budget proposals on the table to create a bipartisan compromise between the House and Senate that would have gotten us out of Olympia on time and with a sustainable budget moving forward. House Republicans put forward a budget in mid-February as a way to offer a new and prioritized way to balance the budget without holding schools, public safety or our most vulnerable hostage to new tax increases. Our budget leader worked tirelessly with the majority party budget leader, yet no movement was made to find middle ground. The problems facing our state, including the budget shortfall, are not partisan issues. I'm disappointed our gesture of good faith to balance the state budget without gimmicks was rejected.
“Now, we'll head into another costly special session – the fifth in the last two years. One-party control has created more gridlock, rather than less. With just six days left in the legislative session, a bipartisan budget passed in the Senate finally moved the budget process forward. It showed leadership and allowed for a negotiation point that was not there previously. So far, it appears the party that has controlled both chambers of the Legislature for the past eight years refuses to acknowledge that this bipartisan budget even exists. We can pass a budget that funds the priorities of government without raising taxes or kicking our problems into the next biennium, but it's going to require both parties working together.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications