Was Rodney Tom’s Republican coup a success? Goldy puts it in perspective:
After six months of grandstanding and hostage taking, two special sessions, and the very real threat of an economy-wrecking state government shutdown, the legislature passed a compromise budget on June 27 that was nearly identical to the budget Democrats pushed through the state house on June 6, apart from significantly less money for education. And from a spending perspective, even that June 6 budget wasn’t much different from the one house Democrats passed way back on April 12, in plenty of time to finish their job without a special session or two.
The catch is how Tom’s Republican coalition paid for it:
They blocked house Democratic efforts to raise $1.1 billion in new revenue by closing $475 million in unproductive tax exemptions and extending $600 million in expiring business taxes. “That was their central strategic priority,” says [House Finance Committee chair Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle)], “to prevent new revenue at any cost.”
If they blocked the revenue, where did the Republicans get the money?
Instead of closing loopholes and extending business taxes, the compromise budget largely makes up the $1.1 billion difference by siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars away from the public works assistance account (a capital fund that helps local governments pay for critical public infrastructure), spending substantially less on K–12 schools, and relying on revised caseload and revenue forecasts to brighten the state’s fiscal future.
Goldy points out that all Tom’s Republican coalition succeeded in doing was to block a number of important social programs—things that Tom claims he supports—and a critical transportation funding package.
The net result of the session plus a pair of special sessions can only be described as second rate. That makes Tom’s experiment a failure. It might be good enough for an Alabama or Oklahoma, but I expect much better from those who represent me in Olympia.