Washington House Republicans release 2021-23 operating budget framework

Reps. Larry Hoff and Brandon Vick offer comments on the plan, which does not include tax increases or cuts in vital services

Washington House Republicans released their 2021-23 operating budget framework at a news conference Tuesday. Ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Drew Stokesbary, says it is not necessary for state lawmakers to raise taxes or cut any vital services as they craft a two-year operating budget this legislative session.

“This budget framework demonstrates that it is indeed possible to fund the state’s existing needs and emergency priorities without raising taxes or cutting vital services,” said Stokesbary, R-Auburn. “This isn’t a budget that will grow government or serve special interests, it’s a proposal that will help people – working families, growing students, vulnerable people, small businesses, and all Washingtonians.”

Stokesbary began developing the proposal last summer when Republicans were asking and preparing for a special session that was never called by Governor Jay Inslee.

The House Republican Operating Budget Framework is a fiscally responsible direction that is finally centered on the well being of all Washingtonians.  It supports working families, students, small businesses, those less fortunate among us and virtually all of our citizens without the need to burden us with additional taxes.  In fact, it actually reduces taxes by over $400 million.  This is the right roadmap for our state at the right time.

Reps. Larry Hoff and Brandon Vick, both of the 18th District, responded to a request for comment from Clark County Today.

Rep. Brandon Vick
Rep. Brandon Vick

“I am fully supportive of the budget that Rep. Stokesbary has put out as it shows how we can fully fund the needs and priorities of the state, while respecting the people’s wallet and not raising taxes,’’ Vick said in an email.  “While Washington State has weathered the COVID pandemic (financially speaking) better than most states, there is no doubt that many of our friends and neighbors continue to struggle during these difficult times.  This budget not only provides much needed relief for many, but also continues forward with the many economic advantages that Washingtonian’s enjoy.

“Quite frankly, the state does not need any additional money in order to do the job that it is responsible to do,’’ Vick added. “This budget proves it.  We definitely don’t need an income tax on capital gains, an additional tax on wealth, or any other tax that would lead to more government largess.  We need to listen to the voters, and do the job that we were sent to do, using the sufficient funds that they are already sending.’’

Hoff agreed that the framework of the plan was the right thing for citizens of Washington state.

Rep. Larry Hoff
Rep. Larry Hoff

“The House Republican Operating Budget Framework is a fiscally responsible direction that is finally centered on the well being of all Washingtonians,’’ Hoff said. “It supports working families, students, small businesses, those less fortunate among us and virtually all of our citizens without the need to burden us with additional taxes.  In fact, it actually reduces taxes by over $400 million.  This is the right roadmap for our state at the right time.’’

Rep. Kelly Chambers, assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and ranking member on the House College and Workforce Development Committee, believes the budget framework prioritizes vulnerable populations.

“We offer hope and more resources for vulnerable Washingtonians, including those who are struggling with mental health issues and homelessness,” said Chambers, R-Puyallup. “We also help students who have fallen behind academically and assist low-income families with the costs of remote learning.”

Rep. Chris Corry, assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and assistant floor leader, says the proposal is designed to help communities that are struggling as result of extended shutdown orders.

“This proposal offers a hand to families in need, including child care options and sales tax exemptions. It also does not raise taxes on anyone or anything,” said Corry, R-Yakima. “We also invest more in public health without raising taxes on health care plans like the governor has proposed.”

Rep. Drew MacEwen, assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee and assistant floor leader, highlights that the plan assists small businesses in need of relief and provides certainty for the future.

“Small businesses should not be punished for the state’s failure to prevent unemployment insurance fraud. It’s fundamentally unfair,” said MacEwen, R-Union. “Our plan replenishes the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund and offers temporary B&O tax relief for businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.”

Stokesbary says the proposal reveals Washington House Republicans’ priorities, including funding the working families tax credit.

“This budget treats working families as a priority, not a talking point,” said Stokesbary, who also sits on the House Finance Committee. “By funding the working families tax credit, reducing sales taxes, reopening schools, addressing the homelessness crisis, and improving our environment, Republicans have shown what our values are.”

The 105-legislative session is scheduled to run through April 25.

Information in this report provided by Washington State House Republicans houserepublicans.wa.gov

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