Republican Sen. Jan Angel of Port Orchard responded to Gov. Jay Inslee’s State for the State on Tuesday, saying she agrees with steps made toward education, transportation investment, “unlocking family wage jobs,” and progress on the mental health system. Watch the TVW video of her response here.
“These huge strides came hand-in-hand with a recovering economy,” she said. “That’s why we resisted the governor’s efforts to create new taxes which would only strangle a reviving economy.”
Angel criticized the governor’s supplemental budget plan, which calls for spending additional money hiring and retaining teachers.
“Every year, the governor seems to ignore state laws that require our budgets to balance over four years,” she said. “Sending a wish list of spending ideas to the Legislature without a sustainable way to pay for them fails to accept the reality of governing.”
She concluded with saying the Republicans will focus this year on restoring charter schools, maintaining a long-term budget and refusing new taxes.
Republican leaders also commented on the governor’s speech at a press conference.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler said this is the first time he’s seen a governor politicize the State Investment Board. Inslee asked the board to exercise its voting authority to reduce the widening pay gap between CEOs and workers.
“I hope that the independent members of the State Investment Board dismiss this as election year politics,” Schoesler said. “We need to stick to investing and stay out of politics.”
Schoesler also took aim at the governor’s plan to hire as many as 7,000 new teachers, saying Washington schools are only producing about a 1,000 teaching graduates each year. “Even if we did have the money, they may not be readily available,” he said.
House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen addressed the mistakes that lead to the early release of over 3,00 prisoners, saying that there needs to be accountability. He claimed that information provided by the governor’s office shows that two governor’s administrations knew about the DOC computer error starting in 2002 and 2012.
“The information that we received was that it was made known to administration in 2002,” he said.
The governor’s spokeswoman Jaime Smith responded to the claim, saying “The King decision in 2002 was when DOC made the original changes in their system. I’m not sure if/what prior Administrations knew about the sequencing error resulting in the miscalculation, but our understanding is that 2012 is when the victim’s family brought it to DOC’s attention. We were aware of it last month.”
Watch Republican press conference here.