More coverage and reactions to governor’s proposed supplemental budget; treasurer warns of tapping reserves

Reactions to the Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed supplemental budget continue to roll in. We wrote of the proposal yesterday. His plan to use reserve funds to meet the state Supreme Court’s order to accelerate full funding of teacher salaries has drawn criticism from the state treasurer, The Lens reports.

A supermajority vote is needed in the legislature to approve the use of those dollars for anything besides emergency spending…

Even if Inslee gets the votes needed, it’s a move State Treasurer Duane Davidson says could harm the state’s high credit rating. In a statement, he wrote that “with a robustly growing economy we should be adding to our reserves now – not pulling from them.”

“I firmly believe that the reserves need to be used prudently,” he added. “The Legislature should look for alternative ways to fund McCleary – other than using our reserves to pay for operating expenses.”

The Lens also reports that Republican legislators praise Inslee for presenting a budget that balanced over four years.

“While it’s promising that the governor finally proposed a budget that balances over four years, I call on him to publicly commit to veto any budget that doesn’t,” Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler (R-9) said in a statement.

Sen. John Braun (R-20) in a statement voiced a similar sentiment. “I’m glad he is finally adhering to the four-year balanced budget law in crafting his budget, and I appreciate that he is embracing the bipartisan work on the K-12 education funding structure enacted last session. I ask that the governor veto any budget that isn’t balanced over four years.”

Sen. John Braun, now the ranking Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement,

“My main concern is with aspects of how Governor Inslee balances the budget, specifically with the carbon tax and its impacts on Washington businesses and citizens, and the proposed tapping of the state’s ‘Rainy Day Fund.’ We will see whether there are enough votes in the Legislature to pass these proposals.

“It’s important that we show discipline by keeping a sizable balance in the ‘Rainy Day Fund’ and budget reserve so we can weather an unexpected economic downturn or state revenue drop.”

The new Senate budget leader, Sen. Christine Rolfes, also released a statement.

“I appreciate the work the governor has done to craft a prudent supplemental budget proposal that offers a blueprint to complete our work in 60 days.

“This budget takes the final step in our duty to amply fund basic education and makes smart, targeted investments in programs that lift Washingtonians up. I appreciate the governor’s focus on expanding treatment for mental health patients and his commitment to protecting affordable health care for all residents.

“This is a realistic approach that will guide the Legislature as we work to put people first with a balanced budget delivered on time.”

The Spokesman-Review budget story quotes the House budget leader:

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane, complimented Inslee’s effort and agreed the Legislature needed to do “a little more work” on education spending, but didn’t commit to the proposal.

“I appreciate the governor’s efforts to find a possible solution,” Ormsby said in a news release. “There will be many discussions of his proposal and other ideas over the next few months.”

Sen. Mark Schoesler, Republican leader, also commented through a statement.

“I’m glad that undoing the levy reform enacted in the McCleary solution isn’t part of the governor’s budget, but I am concerned about his willingness to raid the state’s reserves. How is that fiscally responsible? I remind him that to tap into the ‘Rainy Day Fund’ requires a supermajority that he is unlikely to get.

“I also worry how the governor’s as-yet-unveiled ‘carbon pricing plan’ would affect family jobs in Washington.”

More news on the governor’s budget from the Associated Press, The News Tribune, and the NW News Network