Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week I had two very special visitors from back home spend time with me in Olympia. Bryson Cornehl and Makenna Donaldson from Eastmont Junior High (pictured with me below) served as legislative pages in the House, where they navigated the many buildings on the Capitol campus and delivered messages and documents to legislators and staff. In addition they attended page school every day to better understand the operations and actions of the Legislature. It is always nice to have visitors from back home, and especially wonderful to see young people so interested in state government.
Budget season in Olympia
The cherry blossoms have welcomed us into spring in Olympia, and the change in seasons also means we are getting close to the scheduled last day of the 2013 legislative session, April 28, known around here as “Sine Die.” This means we will finally begin to hear 2013 operating budget proposals.
The operating budgets we pass in the legislature are planned for two years, or a “biennium”. Each biennium begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. So right now the state is operating under the budget passed in the 2011 legislative session until June 30th of this year, 2013.
The budget we will be considering in the coming weeks will be the budget which goes into effect on July 1, 2013 and sees the state through June 30, 2015.
The decisions we make in the coming weeks are very important, and must be fiscally responsible to make sure we put Washington on the best track. Every legislator here has ideas about what an Operating Budget should and shouldn't contain, but here are some of my priorities when considering the Budget:
- We must prioritize K-12 education funding to meet the expectations of the state constitution and the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision.
- Our proposal funds $15.1 billion to K-12 schools, which is up from $13.6 billion in the 2011-2013 budget.
- Make sure our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of, including our developmentally disabled, our elderly and children in our foster programs.
- Protect public safety by making sure our law enforcement officers have the proper tools when defending our communities and families.
We can and must do all this within existing revenues. Our state budget should protect taxpayers by not containing any proposed tax increases. We have $2 billion more coming in next biennium than we did last biennium. The legislature must only spend within our means, and we can prioritize education, protect our most vulnerable and preserve public safety within existing revenue.
I will keep you updated on budget proposals in the coming weeks. As always, it is an honor to serve you.
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000