Ericksen: There are enough votes in the House to pass real reforms

Senator Doug EricksenSen. Doug Ericksen speaking at a Senate coalition budget news conference today, said he believes the Senate-proposed long-term reforms would pass in the House of Representatives if the speaker of the House would allow a vote.

“I think a bipartisan coalition would emerge in the House if the speaker would allow members to vote their conscience,” said Ericksen, R-Ferndale. “He needs to take his foot off progress toward passing a sustainable budget so the Legislature can finish its work.”

The coalition news conference was held to respond to the package of House bills filed this week called “significant steps toward the Republican position” on the House Democrat web site.

“This package is just more ‘bill title politics’,” Ericksen said. “If you look at the body of the bills, there are no significant changes. The speaker is simply refusing to recognize that we can’t end the continuing budget crisis unless we enact real reforms that produce long-term savings.

House Bill 2825, the so-called pension reform bill, still leaves the expensive 2000 early retirement option on the books. That cuts the coalition’s long-term savings plan by almost two-thirds.

House Bill 2827, the two-year balanced budget requirement, just reflects current practice. Unless we require a four-year balanced budget, the deficit spending created by kicking the can down the road will continue. The second budget passed by the House, on the last day of the regular session, did just that – it would have created a $2 billion budget hole in the next biennium.

“It seems like the longer we stay in Olympia, the further away the speaker moves the House from a sustainable budget and a solution to the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis.”