Sen. Doug Ericksen today voiced opposition to a Senate proposal to spend up to $200,000 in tax dollars on groups that serve thestate legislature at a time when educational opportunities for students at the Legislature have been cut back.
Organizations that would receive tax dollars include the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region. The groups provide legislative research and support, as well as forums where legislators can collaborate on issues. A similar organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council does not receive funding from the Senate, nor has it in the past.
“I’m calling on the Senate to stop funding these organizations. It is simply not a priority of state government,” said Ericksen, R-Ferndale. “While ALEC may not receive state funding, the other groups do and these types of expenditures add up. This is a perfect example of why we need to go through budgets line by line to ensure what’s being funded accurately reflects our priorities.
“We’ve cut allotments for the Senate Page Program. Stipends for legislative interns have been eliminated. There’s no doubt in my mind that educating some of our state’s the future leaders is more important than paying dues to these organizations that can raise money in other ways.”
As proposed, the Senate would spend up to the following amounts on the groups:
- National Conference of State Legislatures: $106,061
- Council of State Governments: $85,344.50
- Pacific Northwest Economic Region: $8,750
- American Legislative Exchange Council: $0
Ericksen recently sent a letter to the bipartisan committee that oversees the Senate’s budget, urging it to refrain from using tax dollars on the organizations.