AWB statement on governor’s proposed 2018 supplemental budget
OLYMPIA — The Association of Washington Business, Washington state’s largest business association representing small, medium and large employers, issued the following statement Thursday from President Kris Johnson regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2018 supplemental budget:
“For the last four years, lawmakers have been moving in the right direction, adding billions in additional K-12 education funding while still respecting the four-year balanced budget requirement that brings needed discipline to the budget process. The bipartisan budget approved in July adds $7.3 billion to education funding, on top of the $4.5 billion added over the previous four years, making education spending more than half of the total state budget.
“The governor has acknowledged these unprecedented advances in education investment, but unfortunately his supplemental budget proposal would reverse some of the progress by spending $950 million from the state’s rainy-day fund. This is not the time to abandon the fiscal responsibility that has helped move the state away from the roller-coaster ride of surplus to deficit that was once routine.
“The governor proposes to replenish the reserve fund by imposing a new tax on carbon, which would drive up the cost of electricity, natural gas and fuel for Washington families. It would also be another blow to the state’s manufacturers. These are employers that support good-paying, family wage jobs but are already facing numerous challenges, particularly in rural Washington which has not experienced the same economic growth as the urban areas.
“The governor missed an opportunity to help manufacturers this summer when he vetoed a business and occupation tax reduction that was approved by a bipartisan supermajority in the Legislature.
“The governor’s proposed budget is a starting point. We hope he will work with the Legislature during the 2018 session, not only to ensure that every student has access to a great education, but also that Washington is a state where employers can grow and everyone — in urban and rural areas — can prosper.”