Letters to the Editor

Dems just don’t do fiscal responsibility

I feel it is important for citizens to know why I voted against Senate Bill 6130, the measure that suspended the Taxpayer Protection Act, Initiative 960.

The initiative, which was approved by voters in November 2007, requires the Legislature to have a two-thirds approval to raise taxes.

I joined with my House Republican colleagues in more than 10 hours of debate on the House floor, arguing that SB-6130 should be set aside indefinitely.

I opposed this measure for several reasons:

1. If raising taxes during this economic recession is a good idea, the Legislature should have no problem getting the votes needed to reach the two-thirds threshold.

However, the majority party knows raising taxes right now is not a good idea. So they shoved aside I-960 to make it much easier to raise taxes with only a simple majority vote.

2. Our state budget was in trouble before the recession. Up until the end of 2008 when the recession struck, state spending was exceeding incoming revenue.

Everyone knows you cannot spend more money than you take in, or soon you will be in trouble. That’s what happened with the state budget.

Voters saw this budget train wreck coming long before it happened and that’s why they approved I-960 — to protect themselves from the tax-and-overspending habits of the Legislature, force lawmakers to seek other means to address the state’s budget problems, and to ensure that tax increases would be a last resort.

By overturning I-960, tax increases became the first resort.

3. This breaks faith with the citizens of Washington who voted to place I-960 into law. How can people trust government when government ignores the will of the people?

4. Finally, I believe asking people to pay more to the government when their work hours and pay have been cut, or they’ve been laid off from work, would inflict more harm and send our state deeper into a recession.

The way to prevent the state from continued budget deficits is twofold.

First, get people working again. A strong economy makes people less reliant on government services, and at the same time generates the revenue that helps us carry out the core functions of government.

Secondly, make the state live within its means and stop the overspending.

We need to ensure the Legislature produces a fiscally sound budget that finds efficiencies and cuts spending, rather than ask taxpayers to bail out legislators’ bad spending habits.

I invite readers to go to my Web site at www.houserepublicans.wa.gov/Angel and view the video of my remarks during the I-960 debate.

REP. JAN ANGEL

26th District

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