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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are in the final two weeks of the regularly scheduled 105-day session. The prime focus is negotiations on the operating, capital and transportation budget.
Let's talk numbers – budget numbers | Operating Budget
The three corners of the Legislature have proposed their 2017-19 operating budgets: the governor, Senate Republicans, and House Democrats. I've heard from many of you whether or not I support the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus' budget, or any of the other proposals, at this time. Let's remember they literally are at the start line for the budget negotiation process. Not one of these budgets is even close to being ready to cross the finish line. Because there is much work to be done, I don't support any of the current proposals on the table. They just aren't ready yet.
The difference is in the details
Let's breakdown the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus' and the House Democrats proposals.
Senate: Appropriates $43 billion.
House: Appropriates $45 billion.
Senate: Education is the number one priority. Investments would account for over 50 percent of the budget, including a statewide property tax system reform. This reduces the inequities in how school districts raise money.
House: Plan includes additional compensation for teachers, but those increases don't accompany the levy reform needed to protect the state from future litigation.
Senate: The state will live within its means with existing revenue and hold the line with no tax increases.
House: Raises taxes by $3 billion in 2017-19, and $5 billion in 2019-21. These taxes include a 20 percent business and occupation (B&O) tax and a capital gains income tax – which is the first step towards a statewide income tax.
Senate: Budget proposal is sustainable and recognizes extra money coming into the state from hardworking taxpayers shouldn't be used to create more government programs. it also leaves our state's rainy day fund intact.
House: Budget lacks funding to pay for itself. Despite the massive spending and tax increases, which rely heavily on economic assumptions, the ending fund balance for the four-year outlook is just $12 million. This is risky, irresponsible, and unlikely sustainable.
For more information on the budgets, please watch my video update by clicking on the photo below.
I will keep you updated on the progress of the operating budget, as well as the transportation and capital budgets.
In other news, I think the Cougs will win the Rose Bowl this year! Go Cougs!
It's an honor to serve as your state representative.
405 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7962 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000