The Senate released its budget proposal this week. You can read the entire bill or a summary here. I have some concerns, but we have to keep in mind this is a starting point. In the House, we’ll release our proposed budget early next week.
I am confident that the House budget will represents our shared values by fully funding K-12 schools, addressing our health care and mental health needs, supporting at-risk youth, and helping working families with investments in economic development opportunities across the state.
Once both budget proposals are out, we’ll begin negotiations to end up with a budget that members in both chambers can stand behind.
I’ll keep you posted.
Unemployment at a nine-year low
Yesterday, the Employment Security Department released very good news for our state. According to the department’s latest report, Washington’s economy added 6,100 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell from 5.1 to 4.9 percent, making it the lowest since March 2008.
The greatest job growth was in construction with 2,000 new jobs. In addition, professional and business services increased 1,300; leisure and hospitality added 1,100; other services were up 1,000; financial activities jumped 500; and wholesale trade and information added 100 jobs each. Although as a whole the state gained jobs, retail trade, transportation, warehousing & utilities, and manufacturing lost 2,000 jobs last month.
Washington added more than 85,000 jobs from February 2016 to February 2017: over 73,000 new jobs in the private sector and 12,000 in the public sector.
The bad news is not all of our counties are experiencing such growth. We have to do more to help people find jobs and success all across the state, not just in our heavily-populated areas.
Learn more at the ESD report site.
Need help filing your taxes this year?
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help to most people who make $54,000 or less, and persons with disabilities who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
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Thanks for taking the time to read about what’s going on in Olympia. As always, if you need more information on any legislative issue, or if you have ideas or feedback for me, please contact my office. I’m here to serve you.