Rep. Paul Harris says special session is a disappointment, taxpayers should be frustrated

Lawmakers were aware last fall they would be faced with a multibillion dollar budget shortfall, but they failed to reach an agreement on an operating budget and other key issues during the 105-day regular legislative session. The governor has called for a special session to begin on Tuesday, April 26 in order for the Legislature to finish its work.

Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, was very disappointed a special session was needed to be called and issued the following statement:

“I am frustrated and the taxpayers of Washington should be frustrated, we knew in January our budget shortfall was going to be about $5 billion. It reflects a lack of leadership from the majority party and the governor’s office. We have received very little direction over the last few weeks from those in the majority to get us out of here on time. House Republicans have attempted to offer solutions and we did provide an alternative budget solution earlier this session. While some of our ideas were incorporated into the House proposed budget, there are still many problems with it. Budget gimmicks and fund transfers to pay for ongoing programs are still used. It cuts education, public safety and programs for the disabled too deep.

“Even more frustrating, may be the lack of assistance we have provided our employers and the economy. The unemployment rate actually crept back up last month. That tells me we are not giving our employers the tools and confidence they need to invest in their businesses and spur job creation. I would add that the failure to get workers’ compensation reform passed will also hurt our economy. It is sad since the Senate was able to pass a bipartisan bill, the governor supported it, and I am sure we had enough votes in the House if their leadership would have let us vote on it. Maybe we can address this and pass a sustainable budget during the special session, but we should have been able to do it in the allotted 105 days. Instead, we get to try again, but at additional cost to the taxpayers.”

Each special session of the Legislature can last as long as 30 days and cost as much as $16,000 each day lawmakers are in Olympia working.

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Kurt Hammond, Public Information Officer, (360) 786-7794

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov