With every passing week, states across the country are faced with reduced revenues, budget shortfalls and deficits. Washington State is no different, but the state’s leaders approach to the situation merits our attention.
Although previous reports had indicated an improving economy, the most recent forecast was hugely disappointing for Evergreen State lawmakers after it showed more deficits. Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt described the 2010 legislative session as a “‘missed opportunity’: If there ever was a perfect time for state government to look inward and make much-needed reforms, this was the year. Rather than take this approach, majority-party budget writers chose to turn to tax and fee increases.” In an effort to act sooner rather than later, Hewitt joined House Minority Leader Rich DeBolt in calling for a special session only to be rebuffed by Democrats.
As voters continue to express outrage at how the President, Democrat governors and legislative leaders are handling fiscal and budgetary matters, it should come as no surprise the Washington Senate is ripe for huge gains. “‘I think we’re within striking distance, no question about it,’” Hewitt said. Democrats currently maintain a 31-18 majority in the Senate – if the GOP can gain a net of seven seats, it will take the majority. In any other year, this would be a stretch. Not this year.