Proposed across-the-board cuts are ‘blunt and crude,’ Legislature can show more care
OLYMPIA…..Sen. Shelly Short, Senate Republican floor leader, R-Addy, issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the Office of Financial Management that it has proposed a 15-percent across-the-board budget cut for state agencies, as directed by the governor.
“The state agency submittals in response to the governor’s demand for 15% across-the-board cuts further demonstrate the need for the Legislature to convene in a June special session.
“Across-the-board cuts are a blunt and crude instrument, which fails to produce thoughtful and rational decisions. Under state law the governor may only reduce agency budgets by an equal percentage, whereas the Legislature can come in and act with more precision and care.
“The need to act now is evident. For every month you delay action, you need to cut deeper to achieve the same level of savings. Delaying action is simply irresponsible and may ultimately hurt the most vulnerable among us.
“Acting in June is especially important given the nearly $1 billion of new policy spending set to take effect July 1, which includes expanding the governor’s outreach staff; increasing hot breakfasts for inmates; and providing at least 3% raises for over 100,000 state employees. When you find yourself in a hole, you have to stop digging. We should convene the Legislature now and forgo the scheduled new spending rather than resort later to cutting into vital services that Washingtonians currently rely upon.
“Convening a special session this month is the responsible path forward.”