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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we wrap up Week 11 of the 105-day legislative session the budget proposals are taking shape and being made public.
The House majority party introduced their $38.9 billion spending plan on Friday. It contains $1.5 billion in new taxes and tax increases. House Democrats are proposing a 5 percent capital gains tax, increasing the B&O tax on some service businesses and eliminating some tax exemptions.
This is somewhat disappointing given we have an increase in $3 billion in tax revenues coming into our state coffers this biennium. That is an 8.6 percent increase, and we should be able fund education, address mental health, protect our most vulnerable and keep our communities safe with more than an eight percent increase in tax revenues.
Sustainability is also a concern with their budget proposal as it eliminates the state spending limit and leaves an ending fund balance of only $4 million for the $2017-19 biennium when their spending plan is projected to be about $43 billion. Spending limits are put in place to balance state government growth, and $4 million is a small fraction of the projected $43 billion budget and simply unsustainable.
The budget proposal will be heard in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, March 30, at 1:30 p.m. It is then expected to be voted out of the committee Tuesday, with a full vote of the House anticipated for Thursday.
The House has also released its capital budget and a public hearing will be held on Monday morning at 8 a.m.
House Democrats are also expected to unveil a transportation package next week, but we are not sure of the timeline.
I will continue to provide more details on these spending plans as we move forward.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Keep in touch.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000