Say NO to an Austerity Budget
for Washington State 

Together, we the undersigned call on both chambers of the Washington State Legislature and the Governor’s office to prioritize a lens of equity and justice for the underserved when developing the FY2021 State Budget, and charting a course of recovery from the ongoing health and economic crises, without imposing ineffective and inequitable austerity measures. Policy should be about people – our tax structure ought to reflect that value. 

Whereas the Washington State Legislature will be tasked with fixing the entirety of our state economy, not just balancing a budget. The financial forecast for Washington state is dire, with a potential revenue shortfall of $2.8 billion in the remaining biennium, possibly reaching between $8-9 billion by 2023. The overlapping health and economic crises will continue to impact families’ every day activities and behaviors, and the State Legislature will need to be responsive to the changing needs of our families, especially those who rely most heavily on government assistance and resources. An austerity approach is one that prioritizes budget cuts in order to avoid a deficit in times of economic downturn. But no matter what, the extent of this economic crisis cannot be fixed through budget cuts — the math just doesn’t add up. It would be impossible to cut discretionary spending enough to make up for the projected revenue deficits.  

Whereas the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis have not only exposed, but exacerbated existing racial and economic inequities across our state. Extensive research has documented widespread racial disparities in health outcomes for communities of color across the United States, and COVID-19 has been no exception. People of color in Washington state suffer higher rates of pre-existing health conditions that increase vulnerability to this virus, and are experiencing disproportionate case infection and fatality rates. Layered on top of these health disparities are the devastating economic disparities that have been exacerbated by these crises. In order to get our state out of these crises, we must center our most vulnerable residents, and those most impacted by these intersecting crises. 

Whereas austerity measures imposed in Washington after the 2008 financial crisis prioritized short-term budget balancing over long-term fiscal stability. The State Legislature in 2008 thought that short-term cuts could suffice to see Washington out of the financial crisis. But by 2013 we hadn’t recovered sufficiently, and the unaddressed roots of our state’s regressive revenue structures were laid bare. Not only is austerity not monetarily sufficient to lead us out of this crisis — but it is not just or equitable. The upcoming budget decisions must be augmented with a strategy for implementing new progressive revenue streams, and with an eye towards protecting critical services. 

Whereas we must continue to lead our nation in progressive policies that center the most vulnerable. 

Resolved: We the undersigned request that the Washington State Legislature approach the 2021 Session with an eye towards equity and REJECT an austerity approach in passing the FY2021 supplemental budget and the 2021-23 biennial budget

Signed,
Bob Hasegawa, State Senator, 11th Legislative District*
Rebecca Saldaña, State Senator, 37th Legislative District*
Marko Liias, State Senator, 21st Legislative District*
Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Council*
Girmay Zahilay, King County Council*
Dave Upthegrove, King County Council*
Brandon Hersey, Seattle School Board*
Leslie Harris, Seattle School Board Director*
Aaron Garcia, Highline School Board Director*
Carin Chase, Edmonds School Board Director*
Ryan Calkins, Commissioner, Port of Seattle*
Liz Giba, Commissioner, North Highline Fire District* 
Jessyn Farrell, Former State Legislator, 46th District
Rich Stolz, Executive Director, OneAmerica*
Communities for Our Colleges Coalition
Rebecca Wells 
Jane Neubauer
Anne Hayward
Michael Bunney
Nancy Bergstrom
MacGregor Justice 
Tim Marshall
Alyssa Villablanca 
Will Singer
Tamsen Spengler
Monica Vasquez
Martin Talarico
Kathry Bubelis
Sara Williams
Nicole Chu
May Gerstle
Kathy Winge
Brian Allen
Karen Richter
Timothy McGuire
John Walling
Kelsey Hamlin
Suky Hutton
Elizabeth Mahan
Barbara Dennard
Carolyn Terry
Daniel Zavala 
Peter Lohnes
David Kerlick
Janice Bussert
Joan Valles
Susan Lords
Melissa Mulick
Matt Johnson
Kathryn Rawle
Bailey de Longh 
Diane Vincent
Jeanne Odea
Wayne Lau
Jay Williamson 
Bob Farrell
Rachel
Jean Pasche-Lambert
John Moritsugu 
Mary Michalik
Joe Mitter
Martin Westerman, Co-chair West Seattle Transportation Coalition*
Ken Berry
Jennie Drazan
Eric Bronson
Peter Johnson 
Howard Mizuta
Judith White
Michael Blizniak 
Les Treall
Stuart Yarfitz
Wendy Blair 
Lisa Ball
Martha Koester
Paul Tran
Annabel Quintero M.Ed. 
Dorene Carrel
Diane St. John
Marlene Allbright, 34th LD PCO* 
Ann Martin
Tim Thomas
Phyllis Silling
Stephanie Bric
Merrilee Runyan
Patrick Fernandez
Nichole DeMent
Sylvia Shiroyama
Bryan Kirschner
Holly Ferguson
Jason Rankin
Rebeca Muñiz, 43rd LD PCO*
Chase Cross
Joe Kunzler
Scott Alspach, Chair, 43rd Legislative District Democrats*
Jennifer Post
Kai Ortiz
Zach Silk, President, Civic Ventures
Jessica Freidmann
Sarah Reyneveld
Nicole Gomez, Chair, 36th Legislative District Democrats*
Amy Madden, State Committee Member, 43rd LD Democrats
James Little, 43rd LD PCO*
Elizabeth Parrish
Katja Janelle
Wally Bubelis
Marcy Bowers, Exec. Director, Statewide Poverty Action Network*
Rich Knox
Jennifer Drury
Amy Hepburn
Alex Hyman
Devin Glaser
Daysha Gunther
Colin Butler
Summer Stinson, Policy Director, 36th LD Democrats*
KC Shankland, Chair, 5th Legislative District Democrats*
Kyler Parris
Kirk Hovenkotter
Catherine Hinrichsen
Jon-Michael Hicks
Marsha Cutting
Steven Wilkins
Scott Davis
Kyle Larsen
Andrew Grant Houston
Marshal Nitsche
Jac Fitzgerald
Glen Buhlmann
Alicia Every
Timothy Colman
Sandra Gray
Keitha Bryson
Melvin Mackey
Donna Rueth
Jonathan Levy-Wolins
Matthew Combe
Thu Le
Rachel Hoff
Alison Enochs
Thomas Marshall
Laurie Andrews
Gordon Glasgow
Caroline Miller
Melinda Freeland
Andrew Hedden
Barbara Phinney
Brent McFarlane
Scott Percival
Jan Lustig
Judy D’Amore
Lael White
Teri Elrand
Dean Fournier, Board member, 32nd LD Democrats*
Annette Ademasu
Janet Way, PCO*
Carol McMahon
Dennis Heller
Denis Martynowych
Antoinette Bonsignore
Ginger Phalen
Ruth Lipscomb
Sharon Abreu
Leigh Johnson
Nathan Fitzpatrick
Catherine Suter
Sherri Dysart
Max Savishinsky, Executive Director, WA Physicians for Social Responsibility*
Risa Nagel
Janel Lardizabal, 34th LD PCO*
Sam Hatzenbeler
Lauren Weidner
Shirley Sutton
John Stafford
Bob Burr
Elvis Amoureux
Melissa Wang
John Gould
Aishu Amar
Mina Kao
Rhonda Walker, Chair, Our Revolution Washington*; 19th LD PCO*
Kelly Powers
Amy Postel
Merritt Weese, 44th LD PCO*
Amy Buddie
Katrina
Darlene Miller
Terrence Bone
Joshua Rubenstein
Tom Lux
Alicia Goodwin
Robby Stern
Linnea Scott
Bob Barnes
Tyler Boucher
Roxanne Thayer
Natasha Thayer
Michael S. Goodman
Thom Garrard
Rachel Erstad
Stacey Kinnear
Brenda Sutherland
Edward Lin
Emily Knudsen, Chair, 37th LD Environment & Climate Caucus*
Giovanna Orecchio, 37th LD PCO*
Jared Howe
Kirsten Harris-Talley
Christy Kerbs
Ashley Eller
April Berg, Everett School Board Director*

* Title for ID purposes only