After authoring extreme budget, Rossi continues GOP trend of ducking voters

After taking responsibility for a budget that raises college tuition, cuts preschool and early learning, and creates the biggest property tax increase in state history, Sen. Dino Rossi is refusing to hold an in-person town hall meeting to face his constituents and hear their feedback. By contrast, both of his Democratic seatmates, Rep. Larry Springer and Rep. Roger Goodman, have held in-person town hall meetings.

Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski called on Rossi to hold such a town hall meeting so that his constituents can tell him face-to-face how flawed his budget is.

“Republican Dino Rossi’s extreme budget would hurt students, families, and taxpayers across the state and in the 45th district. If Rossi would take the time to listen to the people, he’d hear that people care about issues like college affordability and fair taxes – exactly the issues where his budget takes us backwards,” said Podlodowski. “Republicans have no chance of winning the critical special election in the 45th district this year if this is what they’ll be running on.”

Rossi has refused to meet with constituents in the past – earlier this year, teachers from the 45th district reported that he walked away from a meeting with them scheduled to discuss school funding and education issues. During his failed 2008 gubernatorial bid, Rossi famously excluded Democrats and anyone who disagreed or challenged his political views from his public events.

The GOP budget proposal includes a $5.5 billion statewide property tax increase, including a property tax increase of $921 a year for the average family in the Lake Washington School District. The budget would raise tuition at Washington’s public colleges and universities while suspending financial aid programs, making higher education more expensive for students and families. And it cuts many services for families and children as well as programs vital to Washington’s social safety net, including eliminating preschool for low-income 3 year olds, cutting homelessness prevention, and canceling contracts with state workers that provide essential care like nurses at mental health hospitals.

Republicans say that they have to raise tuition for students because they can’t afford it in their budget – but they can afford to create millions of dollars in new tax breaks for big corporations like Walmart and Comcast,” said Podlodowski. “That’s just backwards. Washington deserves better than what Rossi’s selling.”