Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, released the following statement about the Legislature’s upcoming special session, which begins Monday:
“This year I have become the longest-serving member of the Legislature, and I have seen more than my share of special sessions. This next one will be my 31st. Not once have we ever wanted to go into overtime. But it’s not easy reaching agreement on a budget when control of the Legislature is divided, and this year the stakes are higher than ever.
“In the Senate, we have written a budget that avoids an increase in taxation and takes care of the state’s most important needs – including our public schools. We have devised a new and fairer school-financing system in which everyone pays the same rate and 83 percent of the people get a break on their property taxes. We would give the people a chance to vote on it, too.
“Unfortunately, many members of my own party in the House are stuck on the idea of raising taxes. Their spending plan would require the largest tax increase in the history of the state — $3 billion over the next two years, and $5 billion after that. This unnecessary tax increase would hurt struggling families and businesses. It would make a general income tax all but inevitable, and allow the Legislature to dig even deeper into people’s pockets in the future.
“This is one of the most important arguments we’ve ever had in a special session. Some battles are worth fighting. Washington taxpayers have plenty at risk this year, and we need to stand up for them.”