It's budget season in Olympia


Dear Friends,

It’s officially “budget season” in Olympia. In recent weeks the Senate approved its operating- and capital-budget plans while the majority party in the House of Representatives passed its $44.9 billion spending plan. 

There are some key differences between the two approaches – most notably that the Senate balances without new taxes, while the House would rely on nearly $8 billion in tax increases over the next four years. Also, while the House plan increases spending by 34 percent (up to a $51.2 billion budget by 2019-21), our budget devotes most new revenue to education and protecting the most vulnerable, while requiring the rest of government to live within existing revenue.

As budget negotiations continue, it is particularly important that I hear from you. Please feel free to share your thoughts and concerns about the state budget with me through email or by calling me in Olympia at (360) 786-7614.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in Olympia. 


New Sig

Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

Watch my video update

What is the Capital Budget and how does it affect the Tri-Cities? 

Week 13 video

Click here to watch this week's video!

Legislation Update

Sen. Sharon Brown

Given my increased role on the Senate budget-writing committee, there was a risk that I wouldn’t have as much time to do all the things that go into moving bills through the legislative process. I am happy to report that has not been the case. So far, this has been one of my most successful years for legislation since arriving at the Senate. Following Tuesday’s cut-off deadline for bills from the House and Senate to pass out from the opposite chamber, several of my bills are still moving forward.

Here is an update on some of my bills.

Bills in Senate Rules Committee:
(These bills are necessary to implement the budget and therefore exempt from cut-off deadlines. They are also now ready for approval by the full Senate.)

  • SB 5642 –My bill to expand our successful “Invest in Washington” pilot program aimed at creating more manufacturing jobs for our state
  • SSB 5866 – This bill would create a state tax court, providing a fairer and more efficient means for taxpayers to appeal tax judgments against them.
  • SJR 8209 – This measure would send my tax-court proposal to the people to approve as a constitutional amendment.

Bills that died in House committees:
(These measures passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support, yet House committees refused to advance them in time for this legislative session.)

  • SB 5232 – Making more hydropower renewable under the state’s cleaner energy plan
  • SSB 5443 – “Dynamic” fiscal notes, which would give budget writers a more accurate picture of the impact of certain revenue proposals
  • SB 5319 – My streamlining bill to transfer authority for low-level radioactive waste management from the Department of Ecology to the Department of Health  
  • 2SSB 5475 – To create a B&O tax exemption for manufacturers of small modular reactors

Bills in House Rules Committee:
(These bills are still alive and need to pass out of the House of Representatives by Wednesday, April 12 – the deadline for Senate bills to pass out of the House.)

  • SSB 5779 – The Youth Behavioral Health Protection Act, which would better integrate mental-health services with pediatric-primary care, to help reduce teen suicides
  • ESSB 5777 – Making it easier to get a municipal general business license
  • SB 5621 -- Making it easier to complete projects of statewide significance
  • ESSB 5470 – Removing the barriers to geothermal exploration
  •  SSB 5560 – Permitting wine trade barrel auctions
  • SB 5736 – Providing additional Meals on Wheels services for our elderly
  • SSB 5051 – Providing notice and more certainty to those leasing Department of Natural Resource-managed lands for agricultural programs 

From the District:

Auto dealers make the case against raising taxes on small businesses 

Jennifer Overturf Bronner

I recently welcomed another visitor from the Tri-Cities – Jennifer Overturf Bronner, a sales manager at Overturf Volkswagen in Kennewick. In addition to working at the local family-owned dealership, Mrs. Bronner is also an active member of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association.

She came to Olympia as part of the auto dealers’ lobbying day, to discuss making it easier for small business to operate. She also asked that lawmakers reject proposals to raise taxes on small businesses, which would make it harder for them to grow and create new jobs.

If you are ever planning on being in Olympia, please call my office and schedule a time when we can meet. I would love to hear from you!

In the News:

Program gives free prom dresses


March 31, 2017 | Stefani Zenteno, KNDO/KNDU NBC News

KENNEWICK, WA - It's almost prom season for high school students, but finding the perfect prom dress can get a little pricey. A group of teens behind ''Dresses for Hope and Exchange'' hope to ease some of that stress by giving away free prom dresses.

Mary Jane Coffy is part of ''Dresses for Hope and Exchange'' a student-run program in Kennewick that gives away prom dresses for free to teenage girls.

"This is all about students being able to get an affordable prom dress without having to go out and buy a new one every year because there is a lot of waste in that and everyone deserves the opportunity to go to prom no matter what their economic status is," said Coffy.

For the first time this year, they'll have a boutique set up at Cynergy Centre thanks to Senator Sharon Brown …

Click here to read the full story.

April 5, 2017


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