Dear Friends and Neighbors,
First of all, I hope you can join Rep. Melanie Stambaugh and me for a coffee hour this Saturday, April 4 at the Summit Library from 10 a.m. to noon. The Summit Library is located at 5107 112th St. E. Tacoma. We look forward to seeing you there.
Week 12 of the legislative session turned into budget proposal week. The House passed operating and capital budget plans, the Senate is expected to pass an operating budget on Monday, and both chambers have introduced transportation spending plans.
The House Democrats operating budget passed on a 51-47 party-line vote on Thursday. It spends about $39 billion, including $1.5 billion in additional taxes. While they passed their budget, they did not bring the tax bills to fund their spending plan up for a vote. To fund their proposal, Democrat leaders have suggested a new capital gains tax, an increase to the B&O tax and closing some tax exemptions. Below is a chart of the tax breakdown.
To view the full list of businesses that would have to pay the increase in B&O tax click Business Tax List.
These taxes are not necessary, even with our state's challenge to add additional funding to education. The fact is, economic growth has led to revenue increases of 9 percent through existing taxes. That means we have $3 billion more to spend this biennium than the previous budgeting period.
The Senate Republican proposal seeks to live within our means. It would spend $37.8 billion over the next biennium, without raising taxes. The funding level to education is similar to the House version. Both budgets provide a teacher cost of living adjustment, the House version a little more. The Senate budget also provides a $2,000 pay raise over two years to all state workers, providing a higher percentage raise to lower-paid workers and narrowing the wage gap. The Senate is expected to pass their budget on Monday. Then, House and Senate budget negotiators will sit down and work out the differences. We should expect to have a final budget agreement before we adjourn on April 26.
House capital budget
The House did pass a bipartisan capital budget by a vote of 96-2. The capital budget differs from the operating in that it funds infrastructure, state lands, and the like. It includes construction for K-12 education, college and university campuses, correction facilities, and maintenance and repair for state buildings and other infrastructure. It also focuses on stewardship projects protecting our farmlands, waterways and environment. Projects for the 25th District in the House capital budget include:
- $1.2 million for the Brookdale Gardens Park in Fife;
- $2 million for the Franklin Pierce School District Early Learning Center;
- $571,000 for upgrades to the Puyallup Fish Hatchery;
- $500,000 for Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson; and
- $2.5 million in funding for the Foothills Trail in East Pierce County.
House transportation budget
The House transportation budget was also released this week. This is the two-year budget within existing transportation revenues that allows us to continue existing infrastructure projects that were funded in gas-tax increases in 2003 and 2005, begin small new projects, maintain roads and bridges, and fund ongoing state transportation operations. It includes:
- $131.5 million for improvements to I-5 through Fife and Tacoma,
- $2.4 million toward the completion of Highway 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma,
- $3 million for access improvements to the Sound Transit Sumner Station,
- $1.1 million for congestion management on Highway 512 in Parkland out to the I-5 interchange,
- $567,000 for improvements to the 31st Avenue Southwest overpass near the South Hill Mall, and
- $80 million for repair and replacement of structurally deficient bridges.
Finally, the Daffodil Court was in Olympia this week, including six Daffodil Princesses from high schools in the 25th Legislative District. The Daffodil princesses are ambassadors for the values, traditions and hopes of our community. It was an honor to have them at the Capitol.
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