The East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition is not pleased with Washington’s plan to balance its 2012 budget.
This week, the coalition, which represents 2,000 businesses and 100,000 employees on Seattle’s Eastside, addressed concerns in a letter to state lawmakers.
Specifically, the group is troubled by the proposal to delay basic education apportionment payments to local school districts over the next two years.
“We believe that such budget gimmicks merely postpone and amplify the problems facing the state government,” the letter said. “If our companies were to operate this way, they would not remain in business very long, and they would face intense scrutiny for this type of questionable accounting practices.”
The coalition went on to suggest that a more responsible approach would be to return to a true Priorities of Government budgeting process. They said that would result in more “reasonable reforms” like requiring multi-year budget forecasts, removing traditionally unfunded programs from the books and revising public employee retirement and benefit programs to align more closely with those in the private sector.
“Delaying payments to the next budget cycle creates further uncertainty for the business community at a time when we can least afford it,” said Matt Bott, CEO of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. “These structural budget issues must be dealt with now or the problem will only grow worse. Issaquah families and business have reformed their spending habits during the economic downturn — the Legislature should do the same.”
The coalition represents 10 chambers of commerce on the Eastside, including Issaquah and Sammamish.