Finding middle ground on budget elusive for majority party in House despite solutions offered by minority party

After 25 days of the 30-day special session, the House majority party passed their version of a supplemental state operating budget, which was almost identical to the budget they passed at the end of the regular session in March. That budget was rejected by the bipartisan coalition in the Senate. Rep. Mark Hargrove voted against the latest version of the majority party’s budget citing it as unsustainable, lacking program reforms and partisan.

“The minority party doesn’t run the show in the Legislature, but we can offer solutions that are in the best interest of the citizens of Washington, and we did just that,” said Hargrove, R-Covington. “We offered the first budget proposal in the regular session in mid-February. It was our effort to show our priorities of education, public safety and protection of the truly most vulnerable. Our budget did not include accounting gimmicks, delayed school payments or a state sales tax increase. The fact is, with regard to the current budget shortfall, we offered solutions during the 2011 and 2012 sessions, last September and December, and have been working in good faith during this special session to move through budget sticking points. Good ideas are not just Democrat or Republican. Unfortunately, the budget passed this week by the majority party is unsustainable, does not incorporate our meaningful reform ideas and, therefore, could not be supported by my caucus.”

Hargrove noted that he has always worked in a bipartisan fashion to do the right thing for his constituents and the state.

“I have worked across the aisle on the state transportation budget, education reforms and many other issues because I know I can learn from other’s perspectives, and I know they can learn from mine,” Hargrove said. “Compromise is a two-way street. Passing a budget out this week without input from the minority party, and with the understanding that the bipartisan coalition in the Senate would reject the proposal like they did in March, makes me question whether it was a genuine effort to find middle ground and move us closer to adjourning on time, or an exercise to allow for finger pointing later. I believe we can and should do better for the citizens of this state.”

The special session is scheduled to adjourn April 10. The supplemental budget legislation, House Bill 2127, is now in the Senate for consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications