Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2016 regular legislative session concluded on Thursday. Unfortunately, there are still issues yet to be resolved – both supplemental operating and capital budgets. Budget negotiations are ongoing, and leaders are working to bridge the gaps between the House Democrat and Senate Republican budget proposals.
House Republicans, along with both parties in the Senate and the governor want to pass a supplemental operating budget. Meanwhile, the majority party in the House is negotiating with money we don't have, and for which they don't have the 50 votes to pass the tax increases to support. The original House Democrat budget also ignores the four-year budget outlook and proposes spending money out of the state's rainy day fund.
We need a true supplemental operating budget that makes minor adjustments and pays for emergencies – within our means.
The governor has not been very helpful. Instead of working constructively to help reach a budget deal by yesterday, he vetoed 27 bills after threatening earlier in the week to reject legislation if lawmakers failed to adjourn with a budget on time. This is a big disappointment to the many Washington citizens who advocated for these 27 bills as they moved through the legislative process. I worry these vetoes will delay rather than expediting a conclusion to our work in Olympia; the Legislature does retain the power to override governor vetoes.
We did reach a bipartisan solution for charter schools this week. That's great news for the charter schools in our area and around the state. The bill passed 58-39 in the House. I spoke in favor of the bill during debate…less than 24 hours after my wife Erin gave birth to our little daughter Clara. I have a new reason to care about the future of education in Washington state! The bill now heads to the governor's desk. I am hopeful he will sign it, but there are no guarantees at this point.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000