Washington state’s record $26 billion budget and tax increases are already being used to posture for the next election. Republicans hope the Democrats’ budget will be seen as an attack on taxpayers, while Democrats plan to make the case their governing reflected the priorities of the people.
“The taxpayers of the state of Washington have been the losers in this session,” state Rep. Gary Alexander (R-Lacey) commented to the Everett Herald. “I suspect we’ll be back here some time later to deal with it.”
“It is a great sense of relief and pride because we lived up to the promises we made when we got here,” state Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-Seattle) told the Everett Herald. “We didn’t go on a spending spree.”
The question to be answered at the next election is which of these budget positions reflects the sentiment of a majority of voters–voters who as a result of the 2005 legislative session will be entering the polls with less in their wallets than a year ago.