Spotlight moves to budgets as session enters homestretch

2018 banner

March 1, 2018

Saddle Rock horizontal

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With the 2018 session set to end March 8, the budgets are taking center stage. There are three budgets for state government – one for day-to-day operations, one for capital investments, and one for transportation projects and programs. They cover two years and are adopted in odd-numbered years, when the session is 105 days instead of 60 like 2018.

In even-numbered years our budget work involves making adjustments to the budgets passed the previous year. These are usually made in response to issues or situations that could not have been foreseen when the budgets were originally passed. Changes in school enrollment or unexpected wildfire costs are examples. These adjustments are made through what are called “supplemental” budgets.

Late last week the Senate adopted its three supplemental budget proposals. I could not support the supplemental operating budget, mainly because it doesn’t offer enough tax relief to property owners and our state’s non-aerospace manufacturers at a time when the state treasury can afford it. Hopefully the final operating budget negotiated between Senate and House leaders will address my concerns, so I can vote for it.

I was glad to vote for the capital and transportation budget proposals and will focus this newsletter on two 12th District appropriations in the Senate’s supplemental capital budget. The House of Representatives approved its supplemental capital budget last night, and now the two chambers will work together toward a final version. Click here for more information about the capital budget.

Support for Saddle Rock trail improvements

My 12th District listening tour in October included meeting with representatives from the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust. They shared with me that their organization had raised the funds necessary to improve trails at Saddle Rock, the iconic Wenatchee landmark that is such a popular outdoor recreation site for our area. However, there is an obstacle: trail enhancements, including the creation of an emergency access path, will mean disturbing the soil. The City of Wenatchee cannot authorize trail improvements until certain hazardous substances left in the soil from long-ago mining activities are cleaned up.

Wenatchee, which obtained Saddle Rock from the state in 2011, is not in a position to fund the soil cleanup, and the mining companies no longer exist to help pay the bill. At our meeting in October, I told the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust that I would seek state funding for the project, and went to work. A meeting I arranged in January with Senator David Frockt (46th District, Seattle), the Senate’s capital budget leader, and Curt Soper, executive director of the CDLT, was key in moving my budget request forward. I also worked closely with Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz and 12th District Rep. Mike Steele to line up support for the Saddle Rock funding (officially known as the Gold Knobs Prospects Project).  

This collaboration resulted in a $900,000 appropriation in both the Senate and House supplemental capital budgets. It would be in the form of remedial-action grant money routed through the Department of Ecology, generated from a voter-approved tax on hazardous substances.

Special thanks are due to Curt Soper, Frank Kuntz and Representative Steele for their efforts on this project. Their advocacy was a key factor to its inclusion in the budget.

CDLT snowshoeing

In January my family took part in the 2018 Family Snowshoe Outing at Saddle Rock Park, hosted by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust – with Hillary Clark, membership and education coordinator, and executive director Curt Soper serving as guides. This was just days after Curt had joined me for a meeting at the Capitol to support my Saddle Rock capital budget request.

Answering a Chelan County water question

One of the first actions the Legislature took during the 2018 session was to adopt a policy that addresses water-access concerns caused by the state Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. However, that legislation (Senate Bill 6091) did not completely resolve a different water concern in Chelan County stemming from the high court’s less-publicized Foster case.

In response to this issue, I worked closely with county officials and Senate staff to secure a $350,000 appropriation in the Senate’s supplemental capital budget to fund a pilot project in Wenatchee WRIA 45 (WRIA stands for “water resource inventory area”). This project looks at water storage efforts as a way to prepare now for population growth over the long term, while protecting water quality and fish habitat.

Chelan Co WRIA meeting

Chelan County Commissioner Keith Goehner and Mike Kaputa, Chelan County natural resources director, joined me in January to meet with Senate capital budget staff and discuss my request for funding a water project important to the county.

    For more information about the budgets and other issues before the Senate:

    Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your 12th District state senator.



    Brad Hawkins

    State Senator Brad Hawkins
    12th Legislative District


    107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
    (360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000