Budget & Revenue

Washington’s budget problem in two charts

July 3, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Washington’s budget problem in two charts

We can almost hear the arguments now. “Olympia has plenty of money to meet our obligations.” “We have $2.6 billion more in new money from the previous budget cycle, so there’s no need for additional revenue.” Those statements will be made, especially as we get closer to the legislative session. Those statements, however, conveniently ignore the other half of the ledger. Yes, budget forecasters predict we’ll have more than $2 billion in additional revenue for the next two-year budget cycle. … Continue reading

DIY tax reform

April 21, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

DIY tax reform

Now that the federal income-tax filing deadline has passed, it seems like a good time to play with taxes instead of working at them. The toy, in this case, is the award-winning Tax Alternatives Model on the web site of the state Dept. of Revenue. Step into the virtual Finance Committee chair and adjust stae and local tax rates up or down, or maybe add in a few new taxes, and see how it affects the state budget and households. … Continue reading

2014 Supplemental Budget

March 17, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The House and Senate introduced budgets about two weeks ago that were similar in some ways, but radically different in others. We negotiated and came to a bipartisan solution that pleases no one except our families who get us back home again. The votes were lopsided in favor – 85-13 in the House and 48-1 in the Senate. A budget must meet three constraints: It must balance in the current biennium. It must meet the “expenditure limit” introduced in initiative … Continue reading

Operating budget agreement reached on time

March 13, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Operating budget agreement reached on time

Today’s statement from House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan on the 2014 operating budget agreement: “This is a very good supplemental budget that makes additional investments in our schools, provides a robust mental health package to help communities provide needed services, and repurposes funds to help struggling families in our state. “I am happy that all sides were able to come together in a productive way to reach agreement and finish our work on time.”

Use of “economic models” to mislead the public

March 4, 2014 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Use of “economic models” to mislead the public

The Washington Policy Center, a right-leaning think tank, published a report today with a terrifying title: “Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs“. This is “truthy”, AN economic model did show this. Of course, THIS economic model ALWAYS shows job losses from proposed public policy proposals. Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs | Washington Policy Center Economic model shows Superintendent Dorn’s proposed tax increases would cost 18,500 jobs | … Continue reading

Dunshee bill would put $700 million toward building schools

February 27, 2014 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Dunshee bill would put $700 million toward building schools

Here’s more about the bipartisan Dunshee-MacEwen legislation, House Bill 2797. Front-page story in The News Tribune by Brad Shannon: State lawmakers consider borrowing against Lottery to build schools Radio story on Dunshee-MacEwen plan to build schools: State House announces $700-million bipartisan school-construction plan Capitol Record: Lottery money would back $700M bonds for school construction in House proposal HDC Advance: Just now: Capital budget committee unanimously passes school construction plan Dunshee-MacEwen release on school construction plan: Bipartisan school construction initiative introduced … Continue reading

Just now: Capital budget committee unanimously passes school construction plan

February 27, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Just now: Capital budget committee unanimously passes school construction plan

“Kids need classrooms.” That’s how Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish) explains House Bill 2797, supported by Republicans and Democrats, which just passed out of the Capital Budget Committee a few minutes ago. The legislation would create thousands of jobs while building the classrooms they need to meet the McCleary decision. “The class rooms have to be in place before the kids and teachers show up in 2017,” said Dunshee, chair of the Capital Budget Committee. “So there is urgency to start … Continue reading

House Democrats will rollout supplemental budget at noon today

February 26, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

House Democrats will rollout supplemental budget at noon today

House Appropriations Committee Chair Ross Hunter,  Finance Committee Chair Reuven Carlyle, and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan will present proposals for a 2014/2015 supplemental budget and a finance package today at noon in House Hearing Room A in the John L. O’Brien Building. We will post links to the documents here after the press conference, and you can watch live on TVW.  

Are you saving for retirement?

January 30, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Are you saving for retirement?

This week, at the public hearing for HB 2474, the retirement savings bill, Rep. Springer said, “It’s safe to say this is a bold undertaking, but to deal with a looming financial crisis, we must have a bold solution.  There are 38 million Americans who retire with no money saved for retirement. Where do we think these Americans will be at age 75 or 80 when they run out of savings?  At government’s doorstep needing public assistance.” HB 2474 would … Continue reading

Haigh reform would help timber communities and schools

January 28, 2014 - Rep. Kathy Haigh

Haigh reform would help timber communities and schools

Legislation by Rep. Kathy Haigh (D-Shelton) would stop penalizing public schools in timber communities when it comes to basic education funding. “This is a common-sense reform that reflects our common values,” said Haigh, chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. “It’s supported by Democrats and Republicans who agree that it’s wrong to let a quirk in the law punish students in timber towns.” The quirk comes from the fact that the state’s forests were picked by the state’s founders … Continue reading

Corrections spending soars, so does uneven imprisonment

January 28, 2014 - Washington House Democrats

Corrections spending soars, so does uneven imprisonment

Our state and nation just celebrated the life and legacy of an American hero, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In his towering advocacy and nonviolent protest against injustice, King was no stranger to the inside of a jail cell. He was arrested on a number of occasions over the years. The 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, what with his many times behind bars, had something in common with millions of Americans in 2014 — and thousands of Washingtonians … Continue reading

Reykdal bill provides needed tax relief to small businesses

January 15, 2014 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

Reykdal bill provides needed tax relief to small businesses

State Rep. Chris Reykdal of Tumwater has introduced House Bill 2286 that will increase the business & occupation (B&O) tax credit 150% for small businesses by closing certain tax exemptions that primarily benefit large corporate farms. “Mom and pop store owners are the heart of our economy and they need our help to stay competitive,” said Reykdal. “This bill will allow our small businesses to compete more fairly with the multi-national chains, and we can do it without hurting education … Continue reading

Op-ed by Rep. Pat Sullivan: Washington’s future starts now – be a part of it!

January 9, 2014 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

Op-ed by Rep. Pat Sullivan: Washington’s future starts now – be a part of it!

The 2014 Legislative Session starts next Monday and, although it is only a 60-day session, there are a lot of important issues on the table.  Among the most pressing are: Transportation – There is substantial need for infrastructure improvements at both the state and local levels, including SR 167. We also need to make sure our transit system is adequate for our communities. Additionally, there have been calls for policy changes to our transportation systems. How should the state move … Continue reading

Rental-car companies dodging traffic tickets

November 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Rental-car companies dodging traffic tickets

How often do you think a private citizen gets away with simply ignoring a traffic ticket? If you answered, “Pretty darn seldom” — Bingo! You’re right. Vehicle-registration and license-tab renewal, not to mention a new driver’s license, can be denied to a registered owner of a vehicle with two or more unpaid tickets. But not so, says current state law, if the vehicle is “leased or rented under a bona fide commercial vehicle lease or rental agreement.” And it’s not … Continue reading

A progressive state with a regressive tax system

September 26, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

A progressive state with a regressive tax system

Our state is great and we’re not the only ones saying that; it’s a fact you can read about in these past HDC Advance posts: •Top-rated state economy: North Dakota? Texas? New York? Nope… •Washington ranks near the top in GDP growth •Oops, we did it again •Who says Washington state is great for jobs? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that’s who! •Washington a national leader in workplace safety •Washington Department of Revenue wins national award •We’re No. 6! •Washington, … Continue reading

Session update from Ross

September 20, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Session update from Ross

Session Update As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Legislature. It’s an honor and a privilege. This year the “privilege” part got a little weak towards the end of 6 months in Olympia, but the we finally got a budget done. It’s a budget I’m pleased with, mostly. This newsletter has a number of sections – I’ve included the top couple of paragraphs in this email, with the remainder of the stories on my web … Continue reading

Seattle Times op-ed on internet sales taxes misses the mark

August 19, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Seattle Times op-ed on internet sales taxes misses the mark

In a Seattle Times Op-Ed today, Peter Ollodart throws up his hands at the prospect of filing sales tax returns in 45 states, and consequently is lobbying against the Marketplace Fairness Act if Congress. If he really had to do that, I’d agree with him. Of course, under the structure of the bill in Congress he won’t have to. All versions of the bill require that the states pay for software services that would be available free to the business … Continue reading

Rep. Hunter earns ‘Champion for Early Learning’ honor

August 16, 2013 - Representative Ross Hunter

Rep. Hunter earns ‘Champion for Early Learning’ honor

State Representative Ross Hunter of Medina earned the “Champion of Early Learning” honor yesterday from the Children’s Alliance, a statewide organization that advocates for ensuring all kids in Washington are safe and healthy. “I’m extremely appreciative of this honor from the Children’s Alliance,” said Hunter. “More investment in early learning, restoration of cuts to Apple Health, and our participation in Medicaid expansion were major victories for all Washington residents this year.” As chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Hunter was … Continue reading

Bothell’s Crossroads Project newly aligned road opened today

August 12, 2013 - Rep. Luis Moscoso

Bothell’s Crossroads Project newly aligned road opened today

Rep. Luis Moscoso joined Bothell City officials today at 4:30 a.m. for the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new State Route 522.  Known as “Crossroads,” this $60 million project is the largest investment in the city’s history. The project will increase safety and improve capacity for the 46,000 vehicles that pass through that intersection daily.  The Crossroads Project consists of three construction phases:  Phase I completed on May 21, 2010: Demolishing 14 buildings located in the area of the … Continue reading

The Education Budget

July 26, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The Education Budget

I’m pleased to report that we were able to add just over a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in new money to education funding in Washington, or about a 12% increase. This is a step towards meeting the obligation to amply provide for the education of all children residing within our borders the constitution calls for and the Supreme Court is requiring us to do in the McCleary decision. My initial proposal was for significantly more. We believe the final bill will be … Continue reading

Moody’s, Fitch upgrade state’s credit outlook

July 26, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Moody’s, Fitch upgrade state’s credit outlook

It sounds like a report from a hospital’s intensive care unit, but the word from two leading national credit-rating agencies deals not with physical well-being, but with the state’s financial health – and the word is good. That’s a tribute to the budget-writers in the Legislature. They staved off a potentially disastrous government shutdown by reaching an 11th-hour agreement on a 2013-15 spending plan late last month. The two-year budget not only boosted K-12 funding by $1 billion, it also … Continue reading

Landmark education investment already making a difference for kids

July 12, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Landmark education investment already making a difference for kids

​In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision that found the state has not complied with its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education for the students of Washington. To fully comply with the court order, known as the McCleary decision, we must invest an additional $4.5 billion into basic education by the 2018-2019 school year. In order to meet that goal, House Democrats proposed allocating about $1.3 billion over the next two years. The … Continue reading

New construction budget – what’s getting built in your backyard?

July 9, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

New construction budget – what’s getting built in your backyard?

In the Bad Old Days, the only way to find out about the state’s new construction budget was by (1) driving — or riding a horse – down to Olympia and (2) somehow getting your hands on a copy of the actual legislation, then (3) reading hundreds of pages of thick legalese and (4) figuring out whether the budget funded projects you cared about, maybe in your county or neighborhood. You had to be a combination of lawyer and lobbyist … Continue reading

Education wins in final budget

July 8, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Education wins in final budget

A week has passed since the end of the second (and final) special session this year and I’ve finally put socks and shoes on and shaved. This was an exhausting exercise as the Senate Republicans figured out how they were going to make decisions. I’m pleased we were able to get it done at the end, but would have preferred to have not come so close to the deadline for shutting down most state services. The final budget addresses most … Continue reading

Pollet: Help on way for overcrowded Northeast Seattle schools

July 1, 2013 - Rep. Gerry Pollet

“Washington’s updated capital budget includes much-needed funds to help ease severe overcrowding in Northeast Seattle schools,” state Rep. Gerry Pollet said today about the 2013-2015 biennial-construction budget passed in the closing hours of the special legislative session. “Some of our youngest students are being taught to read on stages in cafeterias,” Pollet pointed out. “Frankly, it’s nothing short of scandalous that we have first-graders in portables without bathrooms — even as enrollment north of the Ship Canal is growing every … Continue reading

Construction budget creates 36,000 jobs to build a better Washington

June 29, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Construction budget creates 36,000 jobs to build a better Washington

The state’s new capital budget will build things like elementary schools, parks and college science labs – while creating 33,000 private jobs in the struggling construction sector. “Our population is growing because Washington is a great place to live,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish), Capital Budget chair. “That means more kids need schools, more families need parks and more college kids need lecture halls and dorms. Building those things creates jobs today and jobs tomorrow.” Earlier in the session, the … Continue reading

Pollet praises new budget reflecting work done to avert tuition hikes for first time in years

June 28, 2013 - robbinsc

“Call it a decent first step both toward meeting our children’s constitutional right to lower class sizes — and toward improving funding for schools, in general,” observed state Rep. Gerry Pollet. “The new budget adds $1 billion in education funding, and it assures health care for an additional 300,000 Washington people who would otherwise go without it. “And you bet, I’m very happy that the new budget is the first in five years to hold the line against tuition hikes. … Continue reading

We have a budget!

June 27, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

We have a budget!

The state budget agreed to by the Legislature today delivers for 1 million kids in public schools, middle-class college students struggling to pay tuition bills, 300,000 Washingtonians now without health insurance, and hard-pressed families, seniors, and people with disabilities who rely on the badly stretched social safety net. And that means it delivers on the key priorities of House Democrats, whose leaders negotiated tirelessly with Republicans and the Senate to forge a budget plan for the next two years. It … Continue reading

Deal reached on operating budget

June 27, 2013 - Reps. Pat Sullivan & Ross Hunter

Deal reached on operating budget

Statements from House budget leaders on the 2013-15 operating budget agreement House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan: “I am very pleased we have a budget agreement that takes a good first step toward meeting our obligation to fund schools, extends health care coverage to 300,000 more people, and maintains vital services for our most vulnerable. “I’m also glad that we addressed two other court decisions that had the potential to drain our budget of more than $1 billion. “This is a … Continue reading

Reps. Roberts and Liias’ Legislative Update for June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013 - Reps. Mary Helen Roberts and Marko Liias

Reps. Roberts and Liias’ Legislative Update for June 24, 2013

Dear neighbors, The Legislature reconvened in Olympia yesterday, Sunday June 23rd. The plan is that we will keep working through the week until our tasks are complete. State budget writers are inching closer to an agreement that we hope will be presented to legislators for approval before the end of this week. Time is of the essence – the fiscal year ends June 30. House Democrats are fighting for a budget that takes a positive step toward funding education without … Continue reading

Let’s pass fair telecommunications reform

June 24, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Let’s pass fair telecommunications reform

​It’s a classic no-brainer: A legislative proposal that directly affects a major industry is supported by the competing segments of that industry – and in fact, was worked out in consultation with the industry – even though it taxes the industry’s products. It levels the playing field for the competitors in the industry, so no company has an unfair advantage. It provides $110 million in additional revenue for the state in the 2013-15 budget cycle – money that can be … Continue reading

Op-ed by Rep. Tharinger, Sen. Bailey: Readying for Generation Retirement

June 23, 2013 - Rep. Tharinger

It doesn’t matter whether you call Seattle or Spokane home. It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a conservative Republican or liberal Democrat or something in between. Few issues touch us all — but as mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, wives and husbands, each of us will eventually face the challenges of aging. Baby boomers are now retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. Families across the nation face the same set of challenging issues. Have I saved … Continue reading

Employment up in Washington, but new investments necessary to sustain economic growth

June 21, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Employment up in Washington, but new investments necessary to sustain economic growth

Families across Washington who have been struggling since the recession began have another reason to be hopeful this week, as new employment figures show that our state’s job market continues to trend upward. According to the Employment Security Department, Washington added an estimated 4,100 jobs last month, dropping our state’s unemployment rate to 6.8 percent. That’s down from April’s rate of 7 percent, well below the national average of 7.6 percent. Economists note that our unemployment rate has fallen by … Continue reading

Reps. Moeller & Wylie’s Legislative Update for June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013 - Reps. Jim Moeller & Sharon Wylie

Reps. Moeller & Wylie’s Legislative Update for June 21, 2013

Economic & Revenue Forecast State budget writers are inching closer to an agreement that will hopefully be presented to legislators for approval next week.  Time is of the essence – the fiscal year ends June 30. We are fighting for a budget that takes a good step toward funding education without rigging the system against seniors, kids, and people with disabilities. The negotiators received two shots of good news this week: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reported they expect … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s E-Newsletter for June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s E-Newsletter for June 21, 2013

Dear Neighbors, Legislators are inching closer to an agreement that will hopefully be ready for approval within the next few days.  Time is of the essence – the fiscal year ends June 30. We are fighting for a budget that takes a good step toward funding education as well as vital services for seniors, kids, and people with disabilities. The negotiators received two shots of good news this week: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reported they expect $231 million … Continue reading

Community health hangs on budget deal

June 20, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Community health hangs on budget deal

​While the official June 18 forecast for increased state revenue could smooth the path to a budget agreement in the Legislature, the deal is not yet done – and the continuing threat of a state-government shutdown should the impasse extend beyond June 30 worries plenty of folks. One of them is Sean McCliment, clinic manager at Sea Mar Community Health Centers in Olympia. If the 2013-15 budget cycle begins July 1 without an agreement, “Individuals and families will lose access … Continue reading

Reps. McCoy & Sells’ Legislative Update for June 20, 2013

June 20, 2013 - Reps. John McCoy and Mike Sells

Reps. McCoy & Sells’ Legislative Update for June 20, 2013

Economic & Revenue Forecast State budget writers are inching closer to an agreement that will hopefully be presented to legislators for approval next week.  Time is of the essence – the fiscal year ends June 30. We are fighting for a budget that takes a good step toward funding education without rigging the system against seniors, kids, and people with disabilities. The negotiators received two shots of good news this week: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reported they expect … Continue reading

Reps. Blake and Takko’s Legislative Update for June 20, 2013

June 20, 2013 - Reps. Brian Blake & Dean Takko

Reps. Blake and Takko’s Legislative Update for June 20, 2013

Economic & Revenue Forecast State budget writers are inching closer to an agreement that will hopefully be presented to legislators for approval next week.  Time is of the essence – the fiscal year ends June 30. We are fighting for a budget that takes a good step toward funding education without rigging the system against seniors, kids, and people with disabilities. The negotiators received two shots of good news this week: The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reported they expect … Continue reading

$90 million decrease in projected spending is good news, but where did it come from?

June 19, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

$90 million decrease in projected spending is good news, but where did it come from?

Budget writers got another shot of good news yesterday — in addition to a projected $231 in increased revenue, they also got a $90 million decrease in necessary spending from the “caseload forecast.” But what is the caseload forecast — and how did it make $90 million appear out of nowhere? Our state has a two-year budget, so any sort of trend can add up in a hurry. To help lawmakers and the governor write budgets, the Caseload Forecast Council … Continue reading

Latest revenue forecast is a shot of good news, yes — but there’s a reality chaser

June 18, 2013 - Rep. Jim Moeller

“Today’s relatively good news from the state Economic & Revenue Forecast Council has to be tempered with a sobering reality: We have a lot of work to do on two fronts, both near-term and long-term. “First, of course, we face the immediate responsibility to find agreement on an operating budget for the 2013-2015 biennium. It’s heartening to see a revenue-uptick of more than $231 million predicted above the March forecast for the upcoming pair of state-budget cycles. “Second, the obligation … Continue reading

Statement from House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan on today’s revenue forecast:

June 18, 2013 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

Statement from House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan on today’s revenue forecast:

“This is good news, of course.  It shows that our state’s economy is rebuilding and that consumers are starting to buy more products. “But it certainly doesn’t solve all our budget problems.  While it may move us closer to a short-term budget agreement, it doesn’t come anywhere near meeting our obligation to fully-fund basic education under the McCleary decision. “We’ve been prevented from taking even small steps toward closing outdated tax exemptions and redirecting resources toward schools.  Even loophole closures … Continue reading

It doesn’t have to be this way

June 17, 2013 - Rep. Roger Goodman

It doesn’t have to be this way

In my latest video update I discuss the special session budget stalemate. House Democrats, understanding the importance of passing a budget that fully funds education, recently released a new compromise proposal very close to the Senate Republicans’ Budget. Currently, the Senate is holding the budget hostage until the House passes several right-wing policy bills including: lifting restrictions on payday lenders, school changes that make it easier to fire teachers and altering our state’s worker compensation program so it has complete … Continue reading

Rep. Sharon Wylie’s letter in the Columbian: LEGISLATURE’S DUTY IS CLEAR

June 16, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Sharon Wylie’s letter in the Columbian: LEGISLATURE’S DUTY IS CLEAR

Most people agree that it is the job of state government to educate our children and build infrastructure that strengthens our economy. As a representative of the 49th District, I find these are not partisan issues. Our state constitution and state Supreme Court could not be more clear about our duty to fully fund education. Late Thursday night, the Legislature passed a bill that moved beyond one piece of the partisan gridlock that has put us in this second special … Continue reading

49th Legislative District Delegation – Update on Special Session II

June 13, 2013 - Reps. Jim Moeller and Sharon Wylie, and Sen. Annette Cleveland

49th Legislative District Delegation – Update on Special Session II

We are back at work in Olympia today. It was certainly not our plan to still be here but, unfortunately, our education budget is still not approved. Governor Inslee made it pretty clear in his remarks this week why we’re at this impasse; both sides need to be willing to compromise and to focus on one goal – agreeing on a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fund our kids’ education. We encourage you to click on the image … Continue reading

Reps. Luis Moscoso & Derek Stanford – Update on Special Session II

June 13, 2013 - Reps. Luis Moscoso & Derek Stanford

Reps. Luis Moscoso & Derek Stanford – Update on Special Session II

We are back at work in Olympia today.  It was certainly not our plan to still be here but, unfortunately, our education budget is still not approved. Governor Inslee made it pretty clear in his remarks this week why we’re at this impasse; both sides need to be willing to compromise and to focus on one goal – agreeing on a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fund our kids’ education. We encourage you to click on the image below and … Continue reading

Reps. McCoy & Sells – Legislative Update on Special Session 2

June 13, 2013 - Reps. John McCoy and Mike Sells

Reps. McCoy & Sells – Legislative Update on Special Session 2

We are back at work in Olympia today. It was certainly not our plan to still be here but, unfortunately, our education budget is still not approved. Governor Inslee made it pretty clear in his remarks this week why we’re at this impasse; both sides need to be willing to compromise and to focus on one goal: agreeing on a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fund our kids’ education. We encourage you to click on the image to watch … Continue reading

Rep. Orwall’s Legislative Update on the Second Special Session

June 13, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Orwall’s Legislative Update on the Second Special Session

We are back at work in Olympia today.  It was certainly not my plan to still be here but, unfortunately, our budget has still not been approved. Governor Inslee made it pretty clear in his remarks this week why we’re at this impasse: Both sides need to be willing to compromise and to focus on one goal – agreeing on a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fund our kids’ education. This session provides us with an incredible opportunity to invest … Continue reading

Reps. Blake & Takko – Legislative Update on Second Special Session

June 13, 2013 - Reps. Brian Blake & Dean Takko

Reps. Blake & Takko – Legislative Update on Second Special Session

We are back at work in Olympia today. It was certainly not our plan to still be here but, unfortunately, our education budget is still not approved. Governor Inslee made it pretty clear in his remarks this week why we’re at this impasse; both sides need to be willing to compromise and to focus on one goal – agreeing on a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fund our kids’ education. We encourage you to click on the image … Continue reading

Rep. Roberts e-newsletter for June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013 - Rep. Mary Helen Roberts

Rep. Roberts e-newsletter for June 13, 2013

We are back at work in Olympia today. It was certainly not my plan to still be here but, unfortunately, our education budget has yet to be approved. Governor Inslee made it clear in his remarks this week why we’re at this impasse: Both sides need to be willing to compromise and to focus on one goal – agreeing on a budget that meets our constitutional obligation to fund our kids’ education. I encourage you to click on the image below to watch Gov. Inslee’s speech, because … Continue reading

Special times often call for Special Sessions

June 12, 2013 - Larry Springer

  But a little history first. The Legislature finished on time without a special session in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and even 2009 at the beginning of the worst budget crisis in state history. As the global economic crisis deepened we had special sessions in 2010, 2011, and 2012 during which we cut our budget by more than $12 billion. Those cuts hurt. They hurt seniors, put college tuition out of reach for middle class families, cut funding for … Continue reading

Republicans bring D.C.-style politics to our Washington

June 11, 2013 - Rep. Gael Tarleton

Republicans bring D.C.-style politics to our Washington

Well, Olympia has just had its second Sine Die. But nothing is finished. Senate Republicans need to hear from the public that everyone’s tired of this strategy of holding a budget hostage to ideologies. It is our duty to fund kids. Our paramount duty. Everything else might be nice to have. But kids must come first. We still need a biennium budget, a transportation revenue package, and a capital budget. Just like our wi-fi technologies, all three budgets depend on … Continue reading

The reality of budget negotiations

June 11, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The reality of budget negotiations

This morning, Governor Inslee held a press conference and shared some hard truths about the reality of budget negotiations. It’s time for all sides to set aside their policy wish lists and ideology, and move towards a budget compromise that fulfills our paramount duty. Passing the same budget as before is not compromise. Governor Inslee: Here’s what is clear to me today: The Senate majority is trying to leverage our obligation to Washington’s school children to pass its ideological agenda. … Continue reading

On the front lines of budget cuts: first responders

June 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

On the front lines of budget cuts: first responders

Disasters, both natural and human-launched, have lately reminded us much we depend on the heroic men and women of our police, fire, and emergency medical departments. Bombings, shootings, hurricanes, bridge collapses — these first-responders run toward the very things the rest of us run from. But a recent item from Stateline (“The Daily News Service of the Pew Charitable Trusts”) reveals an awfully troubling fact of life in the Great Recession’s budget-slashing: Front-Line Heroes Subject to Budget Cuts, Pay Disparity. … Continue reading

VIDEO: Compromise budget highlights

June 6, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

VIDEO: Compromise budget highlights

With six days until the end of special session, House and Senate budget leaders rolled out a modest, compromise budget plan that will complete the work of the 2013 legislative session and move our state forward. We have more details here, here, and here. Our hope in January was a bold investment in education. This bill is more modest but does allow us to move forward in reducing class size, funding all day kindergarten, and supporting college students. Our budget … Continue reading

Compromise budget plan defends safety net, advances education

June 5, 2013 - Rep. Jim Moeller

“If politics is the art of compromise, then our budget-proposal is a fine art. It’s a fair, commonsense connection of diverse perspectives we need to send legislators home before the midnight Tuesday, June 11, special-session deadline. “Our House budget, for example, covers health care for an additional 280,000 Washington men and women. We guarantee a safety net for thousands of children, senior citizens, and disabled people who are in great need. More than $700 million in new money is dedicated … Continue reading

School funding in jeopardy without estate tax bill

May 30, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

School funding in jeopardy without estate tax bill

Washington state has had some form of an estate tax since 1901. Currently, taxes are imposed on estates of $2 million or more, which is assessed on roughly 300 wealthy families each year. By a landslide vote of 62 percent in 2006, Washington voters reaffirmed their support for the estate tax to provide much-needed funding for our public schools. The revenues from the estate tax go into the Education Legacy Trust account, which pays for things like lower class sizes, … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update for May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update for May 20, 2013

Budget negotiations are continuing in Olympia this week. Most legislators are back at home, however, resuming their jobs and a normal family life. Once budget writers reach agreement on most outstanding issues, lawmakers will return to finish work on the 2013-15 operating budget, capital budget, transportation budget and any other issues that can’t wait until next January.   Budget negotiations: Do we spend our money for educating our kids or tax exemptions? That’s one of the choices lawmakers are discussing … Continue reading

Reps. Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee op-ed in the Everett Herald

May 11, 2013 - Reps. Mike Sells & Hans Dunshee

Reps. Mike Sells and Hans Dunshee op-ed in the Everett Herald

Funding education: Closing tax loopholes is not increasing taxes Corporate tax breaks or your children’s and grandchildren’s future. The ability to grow jobs and compete economically with a well-trained and educated workforce, or continuing outdated tax loopholes to special interests with highly paid lobbyists. Those are our choices. A tax break is an advantage the government gives to a business so it can employ more people. We’re talking about a two-way street, an agreement with the same goal in mind: … Continue reading

The Internet Sales Tax and Washington State: A Primer

May 9, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

The Internet Sales Tax and Washington State: A Primer

On Tuesday the United States Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would expand the internet sales tax to cover the majority of online sales. It’s an important policy with state-level implications, but many don’t understand exactly what it would mean for Washington. Here is how the current law works: states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the business has a physical presence in the state. This means that Dell – based in Fort Worth, Texas – … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update for April 28, 2013

April 28, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update for April 28, 2013

The Legislative Session ends today, but we will be going into overtime to continue budget negotiations and reach consensus between the House, Senate and Governor Inslee.   As we move through special session, I’ll continue to fight for a responsible budget that funds our state’s priorities such as education, health care, jobs and economic opportunity. Watch my latest Legislative Update for a quick summary of what we’ve done so far and what lies ahead. Closing Tax Loopholes The looming special session … Continue reading

Rep.Mike Sells Legislative Update for April 26,2013

April 26, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep.Mike Sells Legislative Update for April 26,2013

The session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 28. However, we will be going into overtime to continue budget negotiations and reach consensus between the House, Senate and Governor Inslee. Are certain tax exemptions more important than educating our kids?  On Wednesday, we answered that question when we approved a bill that closed or modified ten outdated and ineffective tax loopholes in order to fund our children’s education. This generated about $900 million for smaller class sizes, full-day kindergarten … Continue reading

Statement from Rep. Sharon Wylie on her amendment to the Revenue Package

April 24, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Statement from Rep. Sharon Wylie on her amendment to the Revenue Package

“This is a critical amendment to a critical bill. The House revenue package produces the money we need to fund the services we promised we’d protect. It invests in education, it preserves our safety net, and we make sure it doesn’t cost jobs. But some of the sales tax exemptions that allow us to produce this revenue without raising taxes—which people clearly said they do not want—can have a counter-effect in my district where 20 percent of some of the … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for April 18, 2013

Dear Neighbors, Yesterday marked the final cutoff – the last day to consider opposite house bills.   With less than two weeks remaining in the session, much of the year’s committee work is done. But there is still much work to do before we can head back home. At the top of that list is agreeing on a two-year operating budget. Governor Inslee and the Senate both released their proposals for the state’s operating budget recently. Last week, the House rolled … Continue reading

Greetings From Olympia: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

April 17, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Greetings From Olympia: An Update from Representative Marcus Riccelli

House Budget Proposals Released There are only 11 days left in the legislative session, and we have a lot to accomplish before we can head back home. At the top of that list is finalizing the three budgets that keep the wheels turning in Washington and invest in our future: the operating, capital, and transportation budgets. When the transportation budget passed out of the House yesterday, I brought forward an amendment to ensure that savings on the North South Corridor be retained … Continue reading

Rep. Sam Hunt’s Electronic Newsletter – April 12, 2013

April 15, 2013 - Rep. Sam Hunt

In this edition: House Operating Budget proposal House Capital Budget proposal Tax reform and tax fairness  Mental health services     Olympia Office 438B Legislative Building PO Box 40600 Olympia, WA 98504 Phone (360) 786-7992 1-800-562-6000 toll free hotline Email sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov Website My home page Today we passed the House version of the operating budget. Next week will see passage of our versions of the capital budget and transportation budgets. Then lots of negotiating will begin! With a little over two weeks remaining in the … Continue reading

Week 12 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

April 10, 2013 - Rep. Jessyn Farrell

Week 12 Legislative Update from Rep. Farrell

Greetings from Olympia! Week 12 of the 2013 legislative session is behind us, and what a week it was! The Senate released a budget proposal, following Governor Inslee’s roll-out of his plan the week before. With these two budgets out, it’s now the House’s turn, and we introduced our proposal today. In the next few weeks budget writers from both chambers will work toward a compromise budget that will support schools, public safety, and other vital state services for the … Continue reading

House budget proposal best for schools

April 10, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

House budget proposal best for schools

The state will step up to its responsibility to educate public-school students and will make sure college graduates are ready for high-demand jobs under the budget proposal released by the House Democratic majority on Wednesday. The budget proposal authored by House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, dedicates more new funding to education than either of the budget plans released earlier by the Senate Republicans or Gov. Inslee. “This is an honest, straightforward budget that meets our constitutional obligation to our … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – April 9, 2013

April 9, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – April 9, 2013

We passed the final policy cutoff last Wednesday – the last day thay bills not related to the budgets were considered in committee.  Also, the Senate released a budget proposal, following Governor Inslee’s rollout of his plan last week.  With those two budgets out, it’s now the House’s turn, and we expect to make our proposal public next Wednesday. Then the budget writers from both chambers will work toward a compromise budget that will support schools, public safety, and other … Continue reading

To invest in kids, summon courage to cut tax loopholes

April 8, 2013 - Rep. Chris Reykdal

To invest in kids, summon courage to cut tax loopholes

Rep. Chris Reykdal of Olympia lays out the argument for a smarter tax policy on the Stand web site.  

Senate Budget: Bad for Kids, Families, and Our Future

April 8, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Senate Budget: Bad for Kids, Families, and Our Future

Top 10 Reasons the Senate Budget is bad for Kids, Middle Class Families and Our Future 15 NEW tax loopholes; zero eliminated – The Senate plans to add 15 new tax breaks while not eliminating even one existing corporate giveaway.

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

April 5, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

War on middle class families continues in Senate budget proposal

Throughout the fall we heard about the Republican “War on Women” and the middle class. On Wednesday that battle continued with the roll out of the Republican Senate’s proposed $33.2 billion operating budget. Though there were some highlights, thanks to the work of Sen. Jim Hargrove and Sen. Sharon Nelson, the proposal still cuts millions from vital state services while protecting loopholes for powerful corporate interests. Touted as a “no new taxes” budget, Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill (R-Kirkland) … Continue reading

The truth about taxes in Washington

April 4, 2013 - Rep. Larry Springer

The truth about taxes in Washington

 Urban legends abound about any number of things, like the idea there is more nutritional value in the wrapper then there actually is in the Twinkie it wrapped.  While that myth is an amusing relic of our folklore, myths about taxes have real consequences that are not necessarily in the best interests of the residents of Washington State. We continually hear the mantra that taxes are too high and that because we have $2 billion more for this budget than … Continue reading

House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter on the Senate Republican budget

April 3, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter on the Senate Republican budget

“While it is nice that the Senate Republicans have acknowledged our responsibility to fund the McCleary decision, they have done so with a budget proposal that relies on assumptions that are unconstitutional or unsustainable. The Supreme Court has been pretty cranky about this issue, and this budget will do nothing to improve their mood. “In addition to being unsustainable, some of their decisions seem downright cruel. Providing child care subsidies for parents trying to get back into the workforce was … Continue reading

Budget and Health Care: Legislative Update

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Jake Fey

Budget and Health Care: Legislative Update

Thursday, Governor Inslee released his proposal for the 2013-15 operating budget. We expect that the Senate will follow with their own plan early next week, and the House will roll out our plan soon after. Then, budget writers in both chambers will begin finding common ground, ironing out the differences, and ultimately pass a balanced, two-year state budget. The $2 Billion Myth One argument you will hear in the upcoming weeks is that the state has $2 billion more in … Continue reading

Let’s tell the truth: taxes are low — and education creates jobs

April 2, 2013 - Rep. Tami Green

Let’s tell the truth: taxes are low — and education creates jobs

by Rep. Tami Green Some myths never die. Unlike urban legends about what happens when you put a Twinkie in a microwave, myths about government and taxes actually do real damage to real people. There’s a good post here (The $2 billion budget myth) that’s worth reading to understand what the fight about the budget is about. It’s misleading to say that everything is fine because state revenues are up $2 billion. Revenues are only up from the depths of … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, March 29, 2013

Governor Inslee released his proposal for the 2013-15 operating budget yesterday.  We expect that the Senate will follow with their own plan early next week, and the House will roll out our plan soon after.  Then, budget writers in both chambers will begin finding common ground, ironing out the differences, and ultimately pass a balanced, two-year state budget. Health care for our heroes Assumed savings from Medicaid Expansion are included in Gov. Inslee’s budget. Beginning next year, the federal government … Continue reading

Rep. Jim Moeller’s statements on the operating-budget proposal released this morning by Gov. Jay Inslee:

March 28, 2013 - Rep. Jim Moeller

Gov. Inslee’s budget essentially follows priorities my House Democratic colleagues and I have advanced the past several months. Specifically, his proposal reflects my commitment to our major obligations in: Meeting our constitutional duty to adequately fund basic education, including closing inappropriate tax breaks as a way to establish stronger, more reliable education-funding. Protecting our state’s safety net. Making targeted investments in state government. Embracing Medicaid expansion. For sure, Gov. Inslee’s budget makes a strong commitment to public education. His plan … Continue reading

Statement from Speaker Frank Chopp on Governor Inslee’s budget and revenue proposal

March 28, 2013 - Speaker Frank Chopp

Statement from Speaker Frank Chopp on Governor Inslee’s budget and revenue proposal

Speaker Frank Chopp issued the following statement on Governor Inslee’s budget and revenue proposal: “Governor Inslee made a strong commitment to education in his proposal – one that we agree with.  And he did so without sacrificing vital state services for children, seniors and the disabled.  Through expansion of Medicaid and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, thousands more Washingtonians will be covered by health insurance and the state will save money. “Taking meaningful steps toward better-funding of our public … Continue reading

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 27, 2013

March 27, 2013 - Rep. Brian Blake

Rep. Brian Blake’s Legislative Update – March 27, 2013

The 2013 Legislative Session is getting closer to the end.  The last official day of the regular session is April 28, and in these final weeks you will be hearing a lot about the state budget.  Legislators must pass a new two-year budget for the state by the April 28 deadline.  While it might seem that attention is only just starting to turn to the budget, budget writers have actually been working on various ways to balance the budget even … Continue reading

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 8, 2013

March 8, 2013 - Rep. Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall’s e-newsletter for March 8, 2013

Dear Neighbors, House policy committees did not meet last week, but legislators were busy hearing bills in the House fiscal committees.  Bills were required to pass out of these committees by Friday, March 1, if they were to remain in play this year – unless they are budget-related. This week we’ve been on the floor of the House voting on legislation every day, potentially including Saturday and Sunday.  It’s the only way we can get as much done as possible … Continue reading

Town hall update, I-1053 ruling & sequestration

March 7, 2013 - Rep. Jake Fey

Town hall update, I-1053 ruling & sequestration

27th Legislative District Delegation Town Hall Please make sure to save the date for a joint town hall hosted by Senator Jeannie Darneille, Representative Laurie Jinkins, and myself. We’ll be discussing issues that are important to the 27th Legislative District, getting your input on legislation, and providing insight into the 2013 session from each of our unique perspectives. Here are the details. Location: Jason Lee Middle School Cafeteria, 602 S Sprague Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98403 Date: Saturday, March 16, 2013 … Continue reading

Kids to get “early start” on school success under Senate-bound bill

March 7, 2013 - Washington House Democrats

Kids to get “early start” on school success under Senate-bound bill

Already a leader in the field of early learning, Washington state would take a giant step toward preparing all kids for success in kindergarten and beyond under far-reaching legislation headed for the state Senate. House Bill 1723, by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, aims to create integrated, high quality early learning opportunities, for children from birth to age 5, to be financed in large part by anticipated tax revenue from the 2012 legalization of marijuana under Initiative 502. The bill, Early … Continue reading

House passes Riccelli’s taxpayer transparency bill

March 5, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

House passes Riccelli’s taxpayer transparency bill

A measure to increase transparency for taxpayers and ensure government accountability in how state dollars are spent cleared the state House today on a 96-0 unanimous vote.  It was a top priority for state Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D – Spokane), who sponsored the bill. “Millions of dollars fund capital and transportation projects in all 39 of our state’s counties,” Riccelli said.  “These projects create jobs, make our communities safer, and improve our quality of life. But the public has no … Continue reading

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, Mar. 1, 2013

March 1, 2013 - Rep. Mike Sells

Rep. Mike Sells – Legislative Update, Mar. 1, 2013

House policy committees did not meet this week, but legislators have been busy hearing bills in the House fiscal committees.  Bills must pass out of these committees by Friday, March 1, if they are to remain in play this year – unless they are budget-related. Starting next week, we’ll be on the floor of the House voting on legislation every day, potentially including Saturday and Sunday.  It’s the only way we can get as much done as possible within the … Continue reading

Washington’s flawed revenue system

February 26, 2013 - bergstromg

An interesting look at structural problems in our state’s revenue system Washington’s Flawed Revenue System from Remy Trupin

A Good Deal for Washington

February 19, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

One of the three key items that need to be resolved this year is the Medicaid expansion that is part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare. (The other two are the overall budget and education funding increase as a result of the McCleary decision.) The policy choices are getting clearer and clearer as we go through the session, and the support has become more substantial as the numbers work themselves out. In short, We will be able … Continue reading

It’s your money – you earned it

February 12, 2013 - bergstromg

It’s your money – you earned it

The IRS may owe you money. That isn’t a misprint. Many hard-working citizens back home in the 11th District, along with people from Bellingham to Spokane, may be owed money by the IRS. If you worked during 2012, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. But you won’t know, and won’t get it, unless you apply for it. Uncle Same doesn’t automatically write a check. This is especially important for people working part-time or doing seasonal jobs, like … Continue reading

Opportunity for all

February 11, 2013 - Rep. Steve Bergquist

Opportunity for all

by Rep. Steve Bergquist As a teacher in our public schools, I know that money doesn’t solve every problem – but a severe lack of funding for Washington schools is standing in the way of what our students need. Wealthy special interests have an army of lobbyists and think tanks pushing hard for their paramount duty: protecting tax breaks for the rich. Sick, hungry and homeless kids can’t learn Let me tell you about one of my students. Jonathan went … Continue reading

Riccelli wants taxpayers to know where their money goes

February 7, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Riccelli wants taxpayers to know where their money goes

Each year, millions of dollars flow from state coffers to fund capital and transportation projects in every single county.  These projects create jobs while improving the infrastructure of Washington’s communities.  But these public investments aren’t always easily visible to the public, and one legislator is seeking to change that. Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D – Spokane), has introduced legislation to increase transparency for taxpayers and ensure government accountability in how state dollars are spent.  His bill, HB 1733, would increase the … Continue reading

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for Feb 5, 2013

February 5, 2013 - Rep. Sharon Wylie

Rep. Wylie’s e-newsletter for Feb 5, 2013

Dear neighbors, This is the fourth week of session and things are happening very quickly. As you know, our focus is on balancing the budget as well as fully funding education, as required by the courts. I hope you find my e-newsletters informative, I will try to keep you frequently updated. Watch my latest video update!   Budget picture While the overall economic picture in our state is improving, the legislature will still have to resolve a projected shortfall in … Continue reading

Rep. Riccelli talks jobs on TVW’s “Inside Olympia”

February 1, 2013 - Rep. Marcus Riccelli

Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the freshman representative from the 3rd Legislative District, was featured this week on TVW’s show “Inside Olympia.”  In the following two-minute clip, he talks about one of his top priorities for the 2013 session, which is job creation in the Spokane area. You can view the entire half-hour segment here.

Budget Outline 2013-15

January 13, 2013 - Rep. Ross Hunter

In 2013 the Legislature has three big budget problems to address. It may be that there are other issues for the Legislature (gun safety, mental health, transportation…) but as the budget chair I have an odd focus on what I’m responsible for. Balance the 2013-15 budget, plus make sure that the 2015-17 budget is structurally sound. We start with a $904 million shortfall and have to address the two issues below, plus comply with the strongest 4-year balanced budget requirement … Continue reading

Hudgins named chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government

December 19, 2012 - bergstromg

Hudgins named chair of Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government

Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila) will serve as the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. “Citizens need services that work for them and their families,” said Hudgins. “My job, as a citizen-lawmaker, is to be an advocate for friends and neighbors back home in the 11th District.” Hudgins served a similar role last session, although the budget committees were structured differently. According to the House of Representatives, the newly organized subcommittee oversees the funding of 70 state agencies … Continue reading

Pettigrew receives committee assignments, retains leadership position

December 11, 2012 - toyrab

Pettigrew receives committee assignments, retains leadership position

The House Democratic Caucus has approved the committee structure for the upcoming legislative session. State Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) has once again been appointed to several key committees. Rep. Pettigrew will serve on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Public Safety, Rules, and Appropriations Committees. In addition to his appointment to the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Pettigrew will serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education. That subcommittee will be tasked with making funding recommendations for early learning, K-12, and higher education following … Continue reading

Rep. Timm Ormsby elected vice chair of House Appropriations Committee

December 11, 2012 - frizzelld

Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane) will serve as vice chair of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee during the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 14. His election to that position by his fellow majority House Democrats comes as lawmakers prepare for what is widely predicted to be the most challenging budget session in memory.  Despite continuing signs of modest improvement in Washington’s economy, legislators will open the 105-day session between a rock – a projected gap of $900 million between expected … Continue reading

Dunshee picked to lead jobs effort again

December 11, 2012 - Rep. Hans Dunshee

Will chair committee that controls state construction budget After creating 20,000 jobs statewide – including 1,700 in Snohomish County – House Democrats elected Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish) once again to continue that effort as chair the Capital Budget Committee. “We’re not out of this downturn yet, and the way to strengthen families and communities is to focus on jobs,” Dunshee said of his role as chair of the committee that controls the state’s construction budget. “That is what I will … Continue reading

Hunter leads House budget writers again

December 10, 2012 - robertsg

Hunter leads House budget writers again

Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina will again head the key budget-writing efforts of the majority House Democrats in the 2013 Legislature, serving as chair of the Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations Committee considers the state operating budget bill, which details most of the $30 billion-plus in biennial outlays. It also handles global fiscal issues such as pension policy as well as bills with significant fiscal impacts. The committee comprises subcommittees for education, for general government and for health and human services. … Continue reading

4-year budget outlook released

August 23, 2012 - Rep. Ross Hunter

The Office of Financial Management (OFM – the gov’s budget office) just released their 4-year budget outlook. This will be the basis for our new 4-year balanced budget requirement. You can see the spreadsheet here. It shows a “shortfall” of about half a billion dollars ($496 million) by the end of the next biennium, in 2015.  This assumes no ending fund balance (not realistic) and full implementation of many laws that mandate additional spending in the future (also not realistic.) … Continue reading

House plans to move budget-related bills forward this week

April 3, 2012 - Rep. Ross Hunter

OLYMPIA – The House is moving forward Wednesday with a short list of bills that will be necessary to implement (NTIB) the supplemental operating budget. Although an agreement on the final budget has not yet been reached, the House Democratic negotiating team wants to get the ball rolling. “We have been negotiating in good faith practically every day of this special session,” said House Ways and Means Chair Ross Hunter (D-Medina). “We’ve taken significant steps toward the Republican position, and … Continue reading

House plans to move budget-related bills forward this week

April 3, 2012 - Rep. Pat Sullivan

The House is moving forward Wednesday with a short list of bills that will be necessary to implement (NTIB) the supplemental operating budget.  Although an agreement on the final budget has not yet been reached, the House Democratic negotiating team wants to get the ball rolling. “We have been negotiating in good faith practically every day of this special session,” said House Ways and Means Chair Ross Hunter (D-Medina). “We’ve taken significant steps toward the Republican position, and are still … Continue reading

Haigh saves vital funding for small high schools in House budget

February 27, 2012 - mcvicara

OLYMPIA – Earlier this week, it seemed a done-deal; high schools with less than 300 students would have their budget cuts to a point that many of them would be unable to provide students the credits needed to meet state graduation requirements. Schools with these smaller student numbers are ineligible, under the basic education funding formula, for the funding level needed to provide a full high school program. Currently, these high schools receive additional state money that makes sure they … Continue reading

House construction budget creates 22,000 jobs

February 21, 2012 - bergstromg

House construction budget creates 22,000 jobs

Jobs Now, Jobs Tomorrow OLYMPIA – The construction budget unveiled by the House of Representatives would use innovative methods to create an estimated 22,297 jobs. “This is about putting people back to work in a hurry,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish), chair of the Capital Budget Committee. “If we act quickly, people can get back to work during the spring construction season, we can also build the foundation of the economy of tomorrow.” The budget is built to create the … Continue reading

Two Minutes with Zack: Capital Gains Tax

February 20, 2012 - mcvicara

Rep. Liias Washington White Board: Are we a high taxed state?

February 16, 2012 - mcvicara

Rep. Hansen’s floor speech on HB 2502 removing a tax barrier to create jobs

February 10, 2012 - mcvicara

Rep. Hunter describes his plan to reform basic education financing in a presentation at Educational Service District 113

January 11, 2012 - mcvicara

Everett Herald: Suggestion to cut length of school year gaining grudging support

November 23, 2011 - mcvicara

The Legislature will convene for a special session on November 28 to address the looming $2 billion budget shortfall. Earlier this week, Governor Gregoire announced her 2012 supplemental budget proposal that included both spending cuts and new revenue options. One of the options being discussed is cutting the school year from 180 days to 176 days. Reducing the school year could save the state nearly $100 million. Below is an excerpt from a recent Everett Herald article that outlines the … Continue reading

Op-ed: Looking for solutions to Washington state budget

November 14, 2011 - waldrefj

How would you overcome our state’s budget challenges? Washington, like nearly every other state in the country, is still feeling the economic drag that’s resulted from the worst recession our nation has seen since the 1930’s. Heading into the 2011 session last January, the legislature faced a $5.1 billion budget hole for 2011-13 biennium.  Before we adjourned, we passed a bipartisan budget that not only filled that gap but also spent nearly $750 million less that the experts predicted we … Continue reading

Statement from House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan regarding Governor Gregoire’s list of possible budget actions

October 27, 2011 - waldrefj

Here’s House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan on Governor Gregoire’s list of possible budget actions: “Ways and Means Chair Ross Hunter and the rest of our budget team have been going through the same process the Governor and her staff have, and I think the numbers she released today confirm that there are no quick, easy ways to meet the challenges this lingering recession is throwing our way.  You can point to any cut on her list and identify people in … Continue reading

Statement by Mary Lou Dickerson on Budget-Reduction Alternatives

October 27, 2011 - boyesr

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced a set of budget-reduction alternatives on Thursday to respond to the continuing shortfall of state revenues. As a result of declining revenues, the state of Washington has already reduced per capita spending to its lowest level in 25 years. Rep. Dickerson chairs the Health & Human Services Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives. “These budget-slashing alternatives must shock the conscience of everyone who shares our Washington values of supporting education and having compassion for the … Continue reading

Statement from House Speaker Frank Chopp regarding today’s revenue forecast council report

September 15, 2011 - waldrefj

“The effects of this recession on our state’s economy are unlike anything we’ve seen since the Great Depression.  Today’s forecast shows we have still not turned the corner toward a full recovery and once again we are facing a significant budget shortfall. “Three straight years of deep cuts in vital services like our public schools, higher education system, senior services, and public safety have left us with very few remaining options. “Our budget leaders have been at work for some … Continue reading

State Rep. Jim Moeller’s statements on today’s (Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011) state-revenue forecast

September 15, 2011 - nietol

“Families and businesses in Southwest Washington communities are just like fellow citizens and business folks across the rest of our state. We’re battling this Great Recession as best as we know how.   “It’s maddening that our economy isn’t steering a surer, quicker route toward recovery. Today’s dismal state-revenue forecast obviously keeps us on this very rocky highway.   “Frankly, though, I’m against calling a special legislative session unless we reach agreement ahead of time. And frankly, too, I’m not … Continue reading

Moscoso secures funding for Bothell Crossroads Project

May 25, 2011 - nietol

OLYMPIA –On the last day of the special session, the House of Representatives passed HB 1497, the 2011-13 capital budget, which provides funding for infrastructure projects such as parks, wastewater treatment plants, community centers and school construction. The capital budget, which passed the House on a unanimous vote, restores $8 million for the low-interest Public Assistance Loan for the Bothell SR 522 Crossroads Project. “It took a while, but I’m very glad we managed to get that project back in … Continue reading

Reykdal joins freshman Democrats to propose ending tax breaks to fund education

April 11, 2011 - paribelloj

For the freshman legislator from Tumwater, the choice was simple: help fund the state’s paramount duty or defend out-of-state tax breaks. Rep. Chris Reykdal (D) chose K-3 Education, joining 48 other House Democrats, including the eleven caucus freshmen, to introduce a bill today that would end nearly $170 million worth of tax exemptions. The money would be redirected for smaller class sizes in K-3 to provide young children with more individualized attention. House Bill 2078 would close a pair of … Continue reading

“Responsible decisions for tough times” in House budget

April 4, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – House budget-writers today released a trimmed-down budget proposal that makes substantial cuts to every part of the state budget while preserving services and programs that help educate our children, care for those not able to care for themselves, and save lives. The budget contains $4.4 billion in cuts and reductions, including carrying forward actions taken in budget bills passed last December and February. “There is some good news out there,” said Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina), Chair of the … Continue reading

House unveils bipartisan construction budget

April 4, 2011 - waldrefj

Funding for schools, parks and jobs OLYMPIA — Lawmakers in the House proposed a bipartisan $3.1 billion construction budget that focuses on job creation and fully funds $390 million in statewide K-12 construction needs. “At a time when our people need jobs most, this budget employs 51,780 people in every corner of Washington,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, chair of the Capital Budget Committee. Dunshee said the plan was the result of teamwork by lawmakers from both parties and every … Continue reading

Op-ed:More than 500 tax breaks cost state treasury at least $6.5 billion each year

March 24, 2011 - paribelloj

By Rep. Chris Reykdal, as appeared in The Olympian. The Great Recession has hit our state hard. In the past two years, we cut over $5 billion for schools, health care, and services that protect our public health and safety. Despite these drastic cuts we still face another $5.3 billion gap in funding for existing public services over the next two years. To give you a sense of what is at stake: $5.1 billion is more than we will spend … Continue reading

Washington White Board – How the state budget process works

March 2, 2011 - mcvicara

Washington White Board – Higher Education Supply & Demand

February 15, 2011 - mcvicara

House early action budget bill cuts shortfall; preserves basic ed, kids’ healthcare

January 18, 2011 - waldrefj

OLYMPIA – The House unveiled a plan today that takes another $340 million bite out of the current budget shortfall while maintaining current funding levels for basic education and Apple Health for Kids. “One of our goals going into this process was to protect our children as much as we possibly could,” said Rep. Ross Hunter, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. “We couldn’t save everything, but we really prioritized core services for kids.” Hunter’s proposal includes $216.5 … Continue reading

Ross Elected chairman of Ways and Means

December 23, 2010 - Rep. Ross Hunter

Earlier this week the House Democrats voted to make me chairman of the Ways and Means committee in the House, responsible for tax policy and crafting the biennial budget. I’m pleased that my co-workers believe I am capable of leading the process of creating a budget in these difficult times. The Finance committee that I chair today was combined with the existing Ways and Means committee. After the holidays I’ll write more about how we’re going to go about this.