Wilcox takes first vote on budget

Wilcox takes first vote on budget
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, January 24, 2011

Today the Washington State House of Representatives voted on the first part of a supplemental budget, beginning to close the gap for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year which ends June 30.

Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, heard in-depth about the majority party’s budget proposal in the House Ways and Means Committee on which he sits, and said he could not support it.

“This budget doesn’t get us where we need to be, now or in the long term,” Wilcox said. “As a former Chief Financial Officer for my family business, I know what it takes to craft an honest, sustainable budget. This proposal not only fails to close our 2011 budget shortfall, it makes poor decisions and kicks the really difficult decisions down the road.”

Wilcox said he was most disappointed the majority chose to make retroactive cuts to education.

“These are dollars our school districts have likely already used to pay for teachers and other things in our classrooms,” Wilcox said. “This is not only unfair to our students, but it sets a bad precedent for the state. I grew up with the concept that your word means something, and this tells our school districts that the state doesn’t always mean what it says.”

Wilcox proposed legislation last week, House Bill 1426, which would require the state to pass a balanced budget. Currently, the governor is required by law to propose a balanced budget. The Legislature, however, is not.

“I was stunned to learn our state is not required to pass a balanced budget. These are the things we need to address to restore trust and confidence in our Legislature,” Wilcox said. “I look forward to having an open public hearing to fix this discrepancy.”

Today’s fiscal proposal was passed by the House 55-43. It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

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