A better way on the budget


A better way on the budget

Republican alternative offers tax relief, tuition breaks and investments in mental health and special education


Dear Friends,

Time is ticking down on the 2018 session, and last week, all eyes in the Capitol were focused on the state budget. On Friday the Senate Democrats passed their supplemental budget proposals. While there are some things to like about their operating budget, it still spends too much while failing to invest in important areas like mental health, college-tuition reductions and substantial property-tax relief.

My Senate Republican colleagues and I offered an alternative budget – one that offered a better way – with real property-tax relief this year and a healthier rainy-day fund.

There are now less than two weeks left in the 2018 legislative session, with much that needs to be done before we reach that finish line.

If there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. Your feedback and ideas help me represent you in Olympia. It’s an honor to serve you.


New Sig

Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

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Budget proposals front and center

week 7
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Senate Majority budget proposal falls short

Republicans offer a better approach

On Friday, the Senate majority passed its supplemental budget proposal to makes changes to the two-year operating budget we adopted in June.

Their proposal left a lot to be desired. It would raid the constitutionally protected rainy-day fund to offer a small cut in property taxes. Great news, right? Well not exactly. This budget would only provide partial relief from the one-year spike in property taxes being felt by homeowners as a result of the education-funding plan adopted last year. It also failed to provide tax fairness for our manufacturers.

I voted no on the new Democrat budget. But I had the opportunity to support an alternative proposal, offered by my Republican colleague, Senator John Braun.

His plan, which was offered as a striking amendment (meaning it would basically be a complete rewrite), would have provided an additional $141 million for special education through June 30, 2021, almost twice the amount provided in the Senate Democratic plan. It would also give a break to our 170,000 community and technical college students by including a 10 percent tuition cut along with increased state funding for the schools. It would have included tax parity for all Washington manufacturers. And unlike the Democrat plan, it would have provided nearly $1 billion in property tax relief starting in 2018 when it is needed most.

The Republican budget would have done all this without raising taxes and while maintaining the state’s significant budget reserves. Unfortunately, the majority rejected this amendment.

As negotiations with the House begin, I will continue to push for this reasonable, fairer approach.

Senate approves $200,000 for Kennewick Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition


While I was unable to support the Senate supplemental budget on Friday, I was happy to vote in favor of the capital (or building) budget update passed with broad bipartisan support that same day.

I am particularly pleased that I was able to get $200,000 for the Benton Franklin Community Health Alliance – Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition for the Crisis Services Renovation Project.

If approved in the final capital budget plan, these funds will be used to renovate and expand the lobby and interview rooms of the Lourdes Crisis Services, and ultimately, create a more therapeutic environment for patients.

Lourdes Counseling Center in Kennewick offers the only inpatient hospital in the region, providing a full range of behavioral health services for adults, adolescents, children, families and groups.

This renovation project has never received state funding in the past, so I think it is due, and I am hopeful that I will be successful in securing this critical funding in the final supplemental capital budget.

In the News: State rightly concerned about safety at Hanford

By Yakima Herald Editorial Board 


Washington state officials are finding increasing cause for concern — even consternation — over a developing health issue at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

…The latest problem, which has prompted action by the Washington Legislature and the state Department of Health, involves the health of employees working on the demolition of the Hanford Plutonium Finishing Plant. In December, specks of radioactive particles were found on a number of vehicles, and at least two of them were driven off the nuclear reservation into the Tri-Cities.

The Senate approved a bill setting up a task force to study worker health concerns. The governor would appoint members of the task force, which would include representatives of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, the Department of Energy, a union, the director of the State Department of Labor and Industries and the secretary of the State Department of Health. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick.

Click here to read the full article in the Yakima Herald.

From the District:

Rodeo Queen Elyse Villaseñor


On Friday, we received a visit Benton-Franklin Fair and Rodeo Queen Elyse Villaseñor, who stopped by the office as part of her a "Day on the Hill" in Olympia.

She spent her day meeting with representatives from the 8th, 9th and 16th legislative districts and inviting us to the 70th Annual Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo in August.

Elyse is the 17-year-old daughter of Jonathan and Isela Duarte of Kennewick, and Ruben Villaseñor of Benton City. She is a senior at Richland High School and will graduate with the class of 2018. She plans to attend CBC and Eastern Washington University to pursue a degree in physical therapy.

It was great meeting Elyse, and I am so proud of the job she does representing the Tri-Cities.

If your activities bring you to Olympia, please let my office know. We would love to welcome you to the Capitol as well. 

In closing…

As always, I value hearing directly from you. I am here to be your voice, and your feedback on bills before the Senate is very important to me. If you would like to contact me please write, phone, e-mail, or stop by if you’re in the Olympia area. 

Feb. 26, 2018


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