The Current | March 14, 2014

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The Current

An update on your citizen Legislature • March 14, 2014

media avail

Letter from Leadership

The 60-day, 2014 legislative session ended just before midnight last night. It is the first time since 2009 that state lawmakers will not be headed into a special session. Assuming all goes according to plan, the Legislature will not convene again until January 12, 2015.

If you want to watch our final media availability event (pictured above) with the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus from Wednesday, you can find it here. You can also watch the bipartisan supplemental operating budget news conference from yesterday here.

Please remember that while the legislative session is over, we are your state representatives year-round. We are here to answer your questions, listen to your ideas and help you navigate state government. 

Thank you for reading The Current. We hope it has been an interesting resource for you. Please know we are always open to suggestions on how to improve it. Due to election-year restrictions, the last edition for this year will be April 11.

Thanks for all of your support and input this year. We appreciate your involvement in the legislative process.

In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
39th District
House Republican Leader

U.S. Navy

Honoring the U.S. Navy

On Monday, we paused to honor the men and women of the U.S. Navy through House Resolution 4699. You can watch the House floor action from that morning here.

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"I believe we achieved our goal of producing a supplemental budget that does not rely on new or increased taxes, is sustainable, contains a healthy ending fund balance and continues the budget stability from last year’s operating budget."

- Rep. Bruce Chandler

Read Chandler's statement on the supplemental operating budget here.

Rep. Bruce Chandler

Supplemental operating budget

The operating budget pays for state priorities such as K-12 education, higher education, health and human services, corrections, debt service, and other areas of state government. State revenue sources include: the retail sales tax; business and occupation tax; property tax; real estate excise tax; and several other taxes, fees, federal revenues, and transfers.

The 2013-15 operating budget, which passed last June, appropriated $33.5 billion. Since it passed, forecasted revenue increased and fiscal year 2013 reversions ended up being higher than expected. This increased the fund balance for the Near General Fund-State (NGF-S) and Opportunity Pathway accounts by $441 million. 

The 2014 supplemental operating budget passed yesterday on a 85-13 vote. It increases spending by about $155 million in the NGF-S and Opportunity Pathways accounts, resulting in total appropriations of about $33.7 billion for 2013-15. Of this $155 million, $89 million is for maintenance level adjustments and $66 million is for policy adjustments. It leaves more than $300 million in the ending fund balance of the NGF-S and Opportunity Pathways accounts.

During House floor debate, there were good arguments for and against the budget. You can watch that debate here.

No supplemental capital budget

The capital budget, also known as the construction and bricks-and-mortar budget, provides funding for the construction and repair of public buildings and other long-term investments such as recreation infrastructure and environmental cleanup. It also authorizes the expenditure of federal funds and provides or lends money to local governments or nonprofit organizations.

The 2013-15 capital budget appropriated $3.6 billion, including general obligation (GO) bonds, cash and other funds.

The House passed a supplemental capital budget March 4. It would have made $72.9 million in new, net GO bond appropriations. This included investments in higher education, flood management, the mental health system, the Department of Corrections, and storm water and water quality grants.

The Senate chose to take a different approach. In the end, the differences between the House and Senate proposals were too vast and the Legislature did not pass a supplemental capital budget for the first time since 1996.

Supplemental transportation budget

The 2013-15 transportation budget appropriated $8.7 billion from state, federal and other sources for capital projects and operating programs. These revenue sources include: fuel taxes (18.4 cents federal, 37.5 cents state); license fees; federal taxes; permit and other fees; tolls; ferry fares; vehicle sales tax; rental car taxes; and other sources.

The 2014 supplemental transportation budget passed Tuesday on a 65-33 vote. The budget adds $453 million in spending for capital expenditures, new operating initiatives and additional debt service and bond-related expenditures.

A major concern with the supplemental transportation budget is that it adds $172 million on top of the $250 million risk reserve in the SR 520 Bridge replacement project to cover WSDOT’s mistakes. This project has been mired in problems – including cost overruns, pontoon design failure and tolling delays. All of these problems were preventable. We need more accountability at the WSDOT, which starts at the top with Governor Inslee

Successful bills   

Several bills sponsored by Washington House Republicans moved through the legislative process successfully and either have been, or will be, signed into law by the governor. Below are a few of these bills.

Reps. Kristiansen and Hope

Saying goodbye to good friends 

Three Washington House Republicans announced they will not run for re-election in the House this November. Each of one of them contributed to the collective success of our caucus and, more importantly, served their constituents and communities with great distinction. We will miss their knowledge, compassion and friendship:   

Session laws

Are you interested in the laws passed each session? Probably not. If so, this website has session laws dating all the way back to 1884! 

For a preliminary summary of all legislation that passed this year, click here.