Improving Budget Outlook Shows Inslee Leadership, GOP Irresponsibility
With the state budget outlook improving by more than $4 billion, it’s clear that GOP calls to slash essential state services were unnecessary and irresponsible
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 23, 2020
SEATTLE — The state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its September revenue forecast this morning, showing that Washington’s economy is beginning to recover, with 190,800 new jobs being created and nearly a billion dollars more than originally forecast coming in as state revenue over the past three months. All told, the state’s revenue forecast for the 2019-23 budget window improved by $4.6 billion.
Thanks to Gov. Jay Inslee’s leadership and patience, this improving economic news means Washington can focus on continuing to help rebuild our economy in a way that supports working families through this crisis. Earlier this year, before having the full economic picture, Republicans made rushed calls for cuts at a time when the state needed to be focused on providing services to those in need.
In June, GOP budget leader Sen. John Braun of Centralia said of budget cuts that “Sooner is better, the easiest decisions we have are in front of us right now. We don’t need any more information.” House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox of Yelm and Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville both called for a special session to cut the budget as early as May.
If these Republican leaders had had their way, the legislature could have made billions of dollars in unnecessary cuts to the state budget. Since much of the Washington state budget is constitutionally protected, the areas available to be cut include essential services like mental health, support for child care providers hit hard by the pandemic, and higher education.
The Forecast Council has also highlighted the importance of supplemental federal unemployment insurance benefits, currently being blocked in the U.S. Senate by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Passing an extension of the federal supplemental benefit would help ensure the economy can continue to grow and recover, and is a major priority of Washington’s Democratic Congressional delegation.
“Washingtonians should be thankful that Republicans didn’t get their way, and the legislature didn’t make unnecessary and irresponsible cuts to the very services that are helping our economy recover right now,” said Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. “Families right now are still counting on support from the state to help us get through this pandemic together, and Governor Inslee is working hard to help get our economy back on track without having to decimate the state budget. Perhaps Republicans think that cratering Washington’s economic recovery will help them politically, but the responsible thing to do is to keep us on a course for growth. We need to beat the COVID pandemic and support the families and small businesses of Washington, not cut services they count on and abandon them in a time of crisis.”