Issaquah lawmakers oppose state cuts
December 14, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
State legislators barreled through a series of budget cuts during a one-day special session to address a $1.1 billion budget shortfall.
The measures passed Dec. 11 attracted opposition from Issaquah-area legislators for different reasons. State Rep. Glenn Anderson called the cuts insufficient. State Sen. Steve Litzow opposed the deep reductions to education.
The reductions trim funding for K-12 education and higher education, the state Department of Corrections and social service programs, including the Basic Health Plan — a subsidized insurance program for the poor.
The cuts — and additional reductions ordered by Gov. Chris Gregoire — should reduce the $1.1 billion shortfall by about $700 million. Anderson described the cuts as inadequate to address long-term budget deficits.
The four-term Fall City Republican represents Issaquah, Sammamish and other 5th Legislative District communities in the state House of Representatives. Anderson returns to Olympia to start a fifth term in January.
“I voted against the budget proposal before the House, because I objected to continued accounting gimmicks, use of one-time federal money and arm-twisting by politically favored special interests,” Anderson said in a statement. “The budget reductions taken will, at best, only marginally begin to help the state’s fiscal situation.”
The budget plan passed the House 86-6; another Republican and four Democrats joined Anderson to vote against the measure. The state Senate passed the plan in a 30-9 vote. Litzow opposed the measure due to the education cuts.
Litzow joined the Senate on Dec. 6 after the Mercer Island Republican defeated appointed Democrat Randy Gordon for the 41st Legislative District seat. Litzow represents Talus and other Cougar Mountain communities in Issaquah, plus Mercer Island and Newcastle.
Legislators trimmed $50 million from public schools, including dollars for smaller elementary school class sizes.
“I voted no because K-12 education is my No. 1 priority. Cuts to public schools are unacceptable,” Litzow said in a statement. “Funding for basic education is too low to begin with, and if we continue to chip away at it we will create long-term damage to our society and our children’s ability to compete in the 21st century global economy.”
Legislators convene at the Capitol for a scheduled 105-day session Jan. 10 to tackle a $4.6 billion budget shortfall.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.