Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This past week has been filled with both hope and frustration. Lawmakers were called back to Olympia on Sunday with news that House leaders, Senate leaders and the governor were within hours of reaching a compromise on the operating budget for 2013-2015. The governor even confirmed this at a subsequent press conference. Unfortunately, hours turned into days, but I am pleased to say that a negotiated budget proposal between leadership and the governor has been reached.
Just hours ago, lawmakers were informed that budget negotiators shook hands in the governor's office to bring a proposal to the full legislature for consideration. In the near future, lawmakers will be taking steps to pass a series of bills necessary to implement this budget, with the final vote on the actual budget at the end. Sometimes this entire process can take a couple days. I will be working hard to study the proposal so that I can make an informed vote for the people of the Twelfth District.
Below are some of the highlights of the negotiated budget proposal. The proposed budget:
· Averts a government shutdown by meeting the June 30 fiscal year deadline.
· Keeps the state's promise not to extend Business and Occupational taxes.
· Invests an additional $1 billion into K-12 education for the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision.
· Avoids tuition increases at our state higher education facilities.
· Addresses two unresolved court issues involving estate taxes and telecommunications.
· Dedicates extra revenue from the recent forecast into the state's reserve account.
While this process has taken too long, I am optimistic – based on the framework shared to us – that this budget proposal will pass the legislature. My colleagues and I will be working hard in the coming hours to study this proposal in more detail with the hope of voting on the final operating budget on either Friday or Saturday.
I am sending this information through my email update because you deserve to know these details as soon as I have learned of them.
Thank you for your continued interest and support!
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000