State Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, said 2023 faces the possibility of a budget deficit and little chance of inflation relief.
In a statement released last week, the Republican budget leader in the Senate argued a projected slowdown in state revenue growth along with what Wilson described as “record government spending” was the cause of the potential economic issues facing the Legislature in its upcoming legislative session.
In her statement, Wilson referred to a revenue forecast released on Friday that showed a $762 million increase in revenue for the 2021-2023 state budget biennium and a $681 million increase for the 2023-2025 biennium.
Wilson said she expected a “reality check” based on the revenue forecast and criticized her Democratic colleagues in the Legislature for increasing state spending during a period of high inflation.
“The economic slowing indicated by the September forecast had some suggesting a budget deficit was on the horizon. Today’s numbers represent a bit of a rebound but aren’t cause for celebration, because we all see the news about layoffs and are continuing to pay high costs for gas, heat, food and housing. Our state could be just one negative forecast away from a collision course with a financial iceberg — and a shortfall would mean painful spending cuts, painful tax increases or both,” Wilson said. “Let’s not forget all the tax increases that are already looming next year, which will further exacerbate the affordability crisis in our state. Every one of them was approved when our state’s financial picture was brighter than it is now, which tells me the Democrats would not hesitate to raise taxes to head off a deficit.”
Wilson said Republicans in the Legislature had offered multiple proposals to reduce taxes for families who were struggling financially but all of those proposals had been rejected by Democrats. She said she now fears the window for tax reductions will close due to falling revenues.
“Just before the general election the governor’s office and the Senate majority leader dropped hints about broad-based tax relief in 2023, but I suspect people will see those for what they are. In light of today’s forecast, delivering tax relief will likely require them to say ‘no’ to the state agencies that have grown used to the big spending of the past six years,” Wilson said. “With the 2023 session around the corner, and the governor’s budget proposal being presented to the Legislature next month, we’ll see soon enough whether the Democrats are on the side of families who need help affording the basics — or a government that has been well fed for many years.”