OLYMPIA - The state House of Representatives approved a measure Monday to partially address the nearly $600 million budget hole for the current two-year budget cycle, which runs through June 30, 2011.
But local lawmakers, all Republicans, were not pleased with the legislation that was approved by the Democrat-controlled House.
House Bill 1086 reduces expenditures for the rest of the fiscal year by about $222 million, leaving a sizable gap to be addressed later, say Republicans.
House Republicans say the budget is unsustainable, targets education unfairly and fails to prioritize or reform government.
An alternative solution offered by House Republicans was defeated by the majority party.
The House went on to pass the Democrat supplemental plan by a vote of 55-43.
Rep. David Taylor (R-Moxee) voted against the measure and issued this statement:
"Referring to this bill as 'early action' is very misleading. In reality, the proposal would more accurately be called 'delayed reaction,' because it essentially kicks the problem down the road, delays the inevitable and deepens the crisis.
"This budget bill reverts back to past failed approaches, runs contrary to how House Republicans would have handled it, and is not what the governor recommended," Taylor continued.
"The most egregious failure in the majority party's proposal is that it retroactively takes away K-4 enhancement money from basic education. That's short-sighted and unfair because those are funds many school districts have already worked into their budget plans, and in some cases, have already used to hire staff.
"We cannot, we must not, punish the districts' responsible use of their dollars by balancing the budget on the backs of our schools," Taylor said. "The striking amendment proposed by House Republicans was a balanced, well-crafted proposal that would have kept funding in place for basic education.
"When we met in special session in December, there was a spirit of bipartisan cooperation that now seems to have died. We came into this session willing and determined to work collaboratively with the majority party. Economic hard times are no excuse to ignore the possibilities of reaching across the aisle to find common ground," Taylor said.