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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last Wednesday we reached another cutoff date, the second and final “fiscal cutoff” of the 2013 legislative session. It was the last day for committees to consider and pass bills from the opposite chamber. Most committee action will be wrapped up and our focus for the remaining three weeks of the session will be on the House floor, considering and debating Senate bills that have passed their respective committees.
The next major deadline is April 17. That is the date all bills from the opposite chambers must pass from the House and Senate. The exceptions are bills necessary to implement the budget.
Speaking of budgets, we have now seen budget proposals from both the Majority Coalition in the Senate and the House Democrats. Last Friday the Senate approved its operating budget proposal. It would reform and make new investments in K-12 education, fund other important priorities and make state government more efficient. It would not rely on new tax increases – something Governor Inslee proposed last week.
Democrats in the Washington State House of Representatives unveiled their operating budget proposal on Wednesday. In contrast, the plan includes over $1.22 billion in new and extended taxes, depletes the state's rainy day fund and leaves less in reserves.
Below is a comparison of the three budget proposals we have heard so far:
I hope the bipartisan work in the Senate will carry over in the negotiations with the House as we work towards a final budget document. We can, and should, finish on time this legislative session scheduled for April 28.
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