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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Passing a two-year state budget is the main job of the Legislature this year. In the past week we've seen two quite different budget proposals: one from the House, another from the Senate.
The House budget proposal spends $38.9 billion and raises and imposes new taxes by $1.5 billion. By the end of 2019 it would spend $43 billion and taxes would go up $2.4 billion more.
The Senate has offered a budget plan that spends $37.8 billion and includes no new taxes, but does let 12 tax exemptions expire.
Both budgets invest heavily in K-12 education – $1.4 billion for the House; $1.3 billion for the Senate. And while the House budget freezes college tuition, the Senate budget goes even further, reducing tuition at state colleges and universities by an average of 25 percent.
With all these numbers floating around, it's important to remember one number in particular: $3 billion. That's the amount of additional revenues the state of Washington is already expected to collect this budget cycle.
Last week the full House voted on the budget proposal. My vote was “no” because I think we should try to make do with the dollars taxpayers have already sent us. Also, $1.5 billion in new taxes and tax increases is far too heavy a burden to place on the people of Washington.
The full Senate is expected to vote on its budget this week. The next step in the budget process is negotiations between the House and Senate. I'll keep you updated.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact my office. Thanks, and have a great weekend.
466 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7892 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000