Last Friday, the House Democrats unveiled their proposed Biennial Budget for Washington State. Even with $3 billion projected in new revenue from existing taxes, the Democrats want 1.5 billion additional dollars in new taxes on earnings, service businesses and bottled water (again!).
Without new taxes, the Democrats’ budget simply doesn’t balance. The proposal should be called a spending plan because it is not the type of kitchen table family budgets we all know. The Democrats want to fund the spending gap in their spending plan with a NEW tax on earnings…a state capital gains tax. It seems the Democrats have forgotten that the voters said loud and clear they didn’t want an income tax in Washington State.
Senate Republicans also released their budget, which is a stark contrast to the House Democrats spending plan. The Republicans $38 billion proposed budget lives within existing taxes to fully fund K-12 education, cuts college tuition and offers a flat-rate cost-of-living increase that boosts the state’s lowest-paid workers earnings.
Republicans promised they would deliver for education and live within our means. Here are some of the highlights of the Senate Republican’s proposed budget:
- Increases K-12’s share of the budget to 47 percent, a level not seen in the last 30 years.
- Provides $1.3 billion for basic education to satisfy the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling.
- Cuts college tuition an average 25 percent by the end of the biennium.
- Invests more than $70 million in state programs for the mentally ill, and avoids cuts to programs for the developmentally disabled.
- Provides a flat $2,000 annual cost-of-living increase for state employees – meaning 25,000 state workers will see a larger increase than under agreements bargained between the governor’s office and public employee unions.
- Leaves the largest reserve in state history, $500 million in the general fund and $900 million in the rainy day fund.
House Democrats passed their budget earlier this week along a 51-47 party line vote without voting on funding sources. The Senate is expected to vote on their budget proposal in the coming days. The next step will be for the House and Senate to begin negotiations on the final product. The 2015 Legislative session is set to end April 26th…stay tuned.
For more reading on the Washington State budget:
Happy Passover and Easter to you and to your families!
Lori Sotelo, Chairman
King County Republican Party