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March 29, 2013
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As of today, the Legislature is within one month of the April 28 end of the regular legislative session. The next deadline for voting is Wednesday; it’s the final day for Senate policy committees to act on House bills. The two Senate fiscal committees will hit their corresponding deadline on April 9. From there, it’s less than three weeks until we reach the 105th and final day of this session. If there is no agreement on the budget, there could be the need for a special session. In my opinion, we should able to finish our work within 105 days.
WHAT DOES THE MCC THINK ABOUT THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL?
Yesterday, Gov. Jay Inslee presented a set of “budget priorities.” The governor’s proposal would raise state spending by more than 10 percent, an increase to $34.43 billion, yet the expected revenue growth isn’t enough to cover that. He proposed to make up the difference with $1.2 billion in new taxes.
I was disappointed that the governor’s proposal included tax increases when he has repeatedly indicated in the past that he is opposed to tax increases. It’s hard to make additional comments on his budget because it was an abbreviated spending plan with incomplete details.
The Majority Coalition Caucus has been crafting an operating budget, which will be released very soon. One of the Coalition’s main governing principles (from the beginning) is to create a sustainable budget and live within the state’s means; we are still focused on that goal and I think it will be evident when our budget proposal is released.
UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS & SURVEY RESULTS
|Click here to watch this week's video update!|
As I mentioned in last week’s e-newsletter, the proposed ‘state Dream Act’ bill was heard yesterday in the Senate Higher Education Committee, which I chair. We had a packed room of individuals who wished to testify either for or against the measure and we heard from many of them during the hour-long hearing. I appreciated the respectful discussion and the personal stories that so many people told.
I recently wrote an editorial on the issue, which I’ve provided an excerpt below. You can read the full article by clicking HERE.
“I think the state’s financial assistance program needs to be looked at more closely before eligibility is extended to a new group. In order to set good policy, we need to spend more time studying the issue and evaluating the future financial impact.
"State government has a bad habit of promising many things, but delivering few. It would be disingenuous for us to make an unfunded promise that can’t be kept.
"As a state still recovering from an economic recession, Washington needs to be realistic about available dollars, and fund programs accordingly and responsibly to ensure that we are a state that does what we say we are going to do.
"Living in our country offers great freedoms and residency provides great privilege to all. With great freedom and privilege also comes great responsibility.”
Thank you to those who took the time to participate in my short survey about this topic. I value your feedback, opinions and ideas. Below are the results to the survey.
HONORING VIETNAM VETS
This morning, I joined Governor Inslee as he signed House Bill 1319 into law. The bill recognizes March 30 as ‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day’ and requires that the POW/MIA flag be flown by public entities on that date.
Shortly after the bill signing, the Senate honored Vietnam vets with a resolution, which can be read HERE. Many of you know that I am a strong supporter of our military and I proudly rose in support of this resolution today. This type of recognition is long overdue in my mind, and I am glad that March 30 will be a day of honor, forever in our state’s future, for the brave men and women who fought in the Vietnam War. Click HERE to watch my floor speech in honor of their selfless bravery.
Thank you for joining me for another weekly update.
Go out and make it a great day!
|Senator Barbara Bailey|