On Friday the House of Representatives passed its budget. It fully funds education for the first time in decades. It puts families first, and keeps our state on track. Also, in this newsletter, I’m happy to report on my first bill passing the House and Senate, which is on its way to the Governor for signature.
House passes budget that fully funds education
The House budget finally meets the legislature’s duty to fully fund education by investing in our kids, in our classrooms, and in our teachers. In order to satisfy our McCleary obligations, the House budget invests $7.1 billion to fully fund our K-12 schools. We use that funding for putting high-quality teachers in every classroom, giving students the education they deserve, lowering class size, and ending the local school district reliance on levies to make up for funding shortfalls.
I have heard from those in the community who want us to improve education and vocational services, make college more affordable, create thriving communities, protect seniors, and increase access to quality health care. We provide these essential services in the House budget as we try to maintain our way of life in Washington State, while facing drastic budget cuts and program eliminations from the federal government in D.C.
This “Families First” budget maintains key state funding in early learning, higher education, critical human services, housing, civil legal aid, and quality care for our aging population and people with developmental disabilities.
We’re focused on a future that keeps all of our communities a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
You can read more about the House budget proposal here.
We now begin negotiations with the Senate. The Senate attempts to fund their education budget with a $5.5 billion property tax, since it does not include any increase in corporate taxes. Unfortunately, the Senate budget also:
- Raises college tuition and ignores the growing financial aid backlog.
- Slashes housing services for homeless youth & families.
- Rolls back progress to improve quality of childcare.
- Rejects the $1 billion in federal Medicaid funding.
The House plan instead proposes closing corporate loopholes, corporate and investment taxes, and other business-based revenue, while protecting most small businesses. The proposal cuts taxes for families and 80% of businesses, while improving the fairness of our tax system to fund the budget without balancing it on the back of our working, retired, and middle class families.
So what’s next? Now each chamber will start negotiating a compromise solution to send to the Governor. I remain committed to supporting the needs and interests of our district throughout the negotiation process. I have successfully excluded a property tax increase or personal income tax from the House proposal. I will continue to vote against any such proposals as we negotiate with the Senate.
First bill ready for the Governor’s signature
As I’ve mentioned before, much of my focus in Olympia has been on public safety issues, including protecting children from traffickers. As a former prosecutor who has gone after traffickers, I know just how dangerous they are in our community. I introduced legislation (HB 1832) to reauthorize a Commercially Sexually Exploited Children and Human Trafficking coordinating committee to research these issues. Knowing more will help us better combat child exploitation issues in our community and throughout Washington.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that my bill has passed both the House and Senate unanimously and is on the way to the Governor for approval. Thank you all for your support with this important legislation.