Senator: Put state government’s ‘sacred cows on a diet’

December 15, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 11 a.m. Dec. 15, 2011

State Sen. Cheryl Pflug — a lawmaker representing Issaquah in Olympia — said the Legislature’s just-concluded 17-day special session laid the foundation for more efforts to rein in spending as legislators return to the Capitol next month to tackle a budget shortfall.

Cheryl Pflug

Legislators adjourned from the special session Wednesday afternoon after adopting a $480 million package to trim spending.

Lawmakers needed to reduce spending by $2 billion in order to close a $1.4 billion budget gap. Gov. Chris Gregoire asked lawmakers to cut $2 billion and called the Legislature into a special session. The hole opened in state budget due to lower-than-predicted revenues.

The governor called for a shorter school year, reductions to social-services programs and other measures to cut costs. Gregoire also asked lawmakers to send temporary sales tax increase to voters to offset reductions.

Pflug said the governor needs to do more before lawmakers consider a tax increase.

“The governor has said everything is on the table, so it’s time to look at things that typically have been sacred cows in state government, such as public-employee benefits and tribal gaming revenue,” she said in a statement. “Those represent big pots of money — hundreds of millions — and I think it’s reasonable to put some sacred cows on a diet before postponing highway repairs or cutting necessary services for the elderly, veterans and the disabled.”

Pflug, a registered nurse and Maple Valley Republican, said lawmakers took steps to prepare for the 2012 regular session. Lawmakers return to Olympia for the session Jan. 9.

“It doesn’t do much good to have a legislative session if we don’t have the necessary tools and support for our work,” she said in a statement. “Before the Legislature considers an ‘emergency’ tax increase, we really need to have all options on the table.”

Pflug represents Issaquah and other Eastside communities in the 5th Legislative District.

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Comments

2 Responses to “Senator: Put state government’s ‘sacred cows on a diet’”

  1. Doug Balzer on December 15th, 2011 2:35 pm

    The Governor and the Olympia gang are hunkered down and do not have the political will to do what is necessary to balance a budget. Special interest groups- most specifically the public employee unions- are in charge of the Governors office and most of our legislators.No amount of taxes- sales, income or tribal will solve the problem.
    Doug Balzer
    Issaquah WA

  2. bryan on December 19th, 2011 9:15 am

    neanderthal conservatives once again play the public service employee union and tribal gaming card as being sacred cows that need financial trimming. senator pflug says the same thing every session, “we need better tools” – geez, senator, you have a job – why not go and buy those tools you need then instead of relying on the state (taxpayers) to hand them to you? we have heard this before. what is more troubling for the long-term future of this state, is a shortened school year. students think this is great (i know, i’ve asked) until they realize that states with longer school years may have students who are better prepared (grades and skills) for college than ours. republicans and democrats TOGETHER are doing their fair share of wrecking the future of this state, the prosperity of our children, all because neither of them have any ideas of how to fix a broken economy other than same old talking points. disgusting, sad, and depressing!

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