Budget Update: Day 15 of the Special Session
We are now half-way through the 2015 special session. The Legislature was convened by the governor for 30 days to finish work on the operating budget that should have been completed in the 105-day regular session. During that time the Senate passed a complete, no-new-taxes budget that puts education first by increasing education spending by $2.7 billion, including $440 million for teacher pay raises and pensions.
15 days into the special session, budget negotiators are working to build a balanced and sustainable budget that reflects the priorities of our state. I believe that we can accomplish that task without additional taxes. The state is projected to receive an additional $3 billion dollars and the latest revenue forecast showed that economic growth is continuing to fill the state’s coffers. The House however continues to unveil new tax proposals from an income tax on capital gains to their latest version of a carbon tax. It seems at this point that they are more concerned with obtaining any tax than addressing climate change.
With not much else to report from Olympia, I’d like to briefly outline the Senate’s education oriented budget in light of planned teacher strikes throughout the state.
K-12 comprises over 47% of the state budget, which is the highest share in over 30 years.
$2.7 billion biennial increase from $15.3 billion to $18 billion:
- $1.3 billion toward meeting constitutional requirements including:
- $350 Million for K-3 class size reduction,
- $190 Million for all day kindergarten, and
- $440 Million for K-12 salary increases and pensions
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your state senator.
20th District Senator