Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Less than one week remains in the 2015 legislative session, which is scheduled to end April 26. This month, both chambers rolled out their operating, capital and transportation budget proposals — which makes up the entire state budget. Budget negotiations are ongoing, but it seems the majority parties in both chambers are still far apart on some aspects of the state budget.
While not having a final budget for the body to vote on by now doesn't bode well for an on-time adjournment, I'm hopeful budget negotiators from all four corners can reach an agreement soon.
Thank you to all who have reached out to me so far this session. Please don't hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com or call at (360) 786-7852 if you have questions or comments about any issue before the Legislature.
House and Senate operating budgets
The House and Senate released respective 2015-17 operating budget proposals. Both budgets make good attempts at improving our state — both make significant investments in K-12 education to meet our McCleary obligation and try to address growing financial burdens on college students and their families. The major difference is tax increases. The House Democrats' budget includes $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes, including a 5 percent capital gains (income) tax. See below for a comparison of the House and Senate proposals:
I believe we can balance a fiscally responsible budget without major tax increases. With a recovering economy, now is not the time to unnecessarily raise taxes on hardworking families. The state is receiving more than $3 billion in additional tax collections for this operating budget — a 9 percent increase. That's a significant growth that should help budget negotiators agree to a budget that places the least burden on taxpayers.
House Transportation Committee passes transportation revenue package
Here are the projects it funds in the 5th Legislative District:
- $51.9 million for I-90 improvements from eastbound Eastgate to West Lake Sammamish Parkway;
- $2.3 million to define and identify needed interchange modifications for I-90 at Front Street;
- $211.4 million for I-90/SR 18 interchange improvements; and
- $71.8 million for westbound I-90 shoulder hardening between Bellevue and Issaquah.
These highway improvement projects are critical to strengthening the 5th District's infrastructure and improving freight mobility. I'm hopeful the final package the Legislature agrees upon is coupled with strong reforms for the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) so we can ensure state accountability with taxpayers.