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McKenna Enters Budget Fray, Attacks Speaker Of The House

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna is injecting himself into the ongoing turmoil over how to rebalance the state budget. At a news conference , McKenna went after Democratic Speaker of the House Frank Chopp.

McKenna repeatedly took aim at the House Speaker during an event to announce a six-point budget plan. The rollout comes as legislative leaders and the governor race to balance the books by next week -- the end of the current 30-day overtime session.

McKenna waded into the fray by accusing Speaker Frank Chopp of blocking votes on two fiscal measures: one to end Washington’s early retirement program for state employees, the other to require budgeting based on four-year fiscal outlooks.

Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna with supporters at a budget press conference during which he attacked Speaker Of The House Frank Chopp. Photo by Austin Jenkins
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Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna with supporters at a budget press conference during which he attacked Speaker Of The House Frank Chopp. Photo by Austin Jenkins

“The public has to learn, has to know that these reforms are being blocked for political reasons because it’s an election year," McKenna says. "And that’s just not acceptable, it’s not responsible.”

Speaker Chopp calls McKenna’s comments “unfounded” and “politically motivated.” Chopp says House Democrats are ready to vote on a budget and a series of so-called “reform” measures later this week. That list includes proposals similar to what McKenna wants.

McKenna’s Democratic opponent Jay Inslee has not rolled out a formal set of budget principles. But he has called for holding the line on education cuts and closing some tax exemptions.

On the Web:

Rob McKenna's budget plan:

http://www.robmckenna.org/newdirection/budget

Jay Inslee's response:

http://www.jayinslee.com/news/articles/republican-rob-mckenna-tries-to-backpedal-after-embracing74-million-in-cuts-to-education

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.