Republican and Democrat budget writers in the Senate unveiled a bipartisan budget proposal this week that does not raises taxes. The Senate budget increases education funding by about $1.5 billion. The budget demonstrates the ability of parties to work across the aisle and prioritize spending. You will recall last week I touched on the governor’s budget plan, which includes about $1.2 billion in tax increases. I believe that Gov. Inslee’s tax plan is unnecessary and economically risky, while the Senate’s plan is sustainable and prioritized.
Here are some highlights from the Senate budget:
- Increases spending from $31.1 billion to $33.2 billion (6.8%)
- Leaves “total reserves” of $611 million (1.8% – $576 million is in the protected budget stabilization account)
- Relies on $179 million of fund transfers and reversions
- Increases spending on public schools by $1.5 billion (11%)
- Increases spending on higher education by $306 million (11%)
- Increases the spending for the Department of Early learning by $27 million (21%)
- All other spending in budget increases by $227 million (1.5%)
For more information click Senate Majority Coalition Caucus budget proposal. And you can hear more of my thoughts on the governor’s new tax proposal in my latest video update by clicking Rep. Zeiger’s Legislative Update.
House transportation budget
The other spending plan released this week was the proposed House transportation budget for the 2013-15 biennium. The transportation budget allocates about $8.4 billion in state, federal and miscellaneous dollars to capital projects and operating programs. The proposal uses existing revenue to support ongoing transportation projects and stabilize funding for state agencies.
The proposed transportation budget, House Bill 1864, was heard in the House Transportation Committee on Thursday, and we will vote on this budget in committee on Monday. A summary is available here, while detailed budget documents are available here. Of note to our district, the transportation budget includes:
- $28.4 million for the replacement of the Meridian Street Puyallup River Bridge, the state’s top bridge replacement project.
- $2.24 million for right of way acquisition planning and environmental work toward the completion of Highway 167.
- $1.2 million for congestion management work along Highway 512 between SR-7 and the I-5 Interchange.
- $1.7 million for pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements along Pacific Highway in Fife.
- $210,000 for crosswalk improvements at Meeker Elementary, Stewart Elementary, and Aylen Junior High School.
It is a bipartisan budget that contains millions in cost-savings. Some of the efficiencies in the budget include the elimination of less-utilized ferry runs, a 5-percent reduction in toll operations, and staffing reductions in the Department of Licensing and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
The Transportation Committee also voted out four reform bills this week, two of which I prime-sponsored. You can read more about those reforms by clicking House transportation bills get the green light.
Have a great weekend.
State Representative Hans Zeiger
25th Legislative District
Olympia Office (January-April)
468 John L. O’Brien Building – P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000