Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After a regular session, two 30-day special sessions, and part of a third special session, the Legislature is going home for the year. With the end of the fiscal year looming, the Legislature finally passed an operating budget on June 29. I supported the spending plan as it is a historic budget on many levels. The budget:
- Invests about $1.3 billion in K-12 education, the state's largest education budget in history;
- reduces class sizes in grades K-3;
- provides a cost-of-living raise for teachers;
- reduces the cost of tuition at the state's four-year colleges and universities and two-year community colleges, a huge win for students and middle-class families; over the next two years, students and parents can expect to save significant money!University of Washington = $1,611
Washington State University = $1,550
Western Washington University = $1,441
The Evergreen State College = $1,391
Central Washington University = $1,390
Eastern Washington University = $1,298
- makes significant investments in treatment and capacity for our mentally ill and preserves our health and human service safety net;
- Increases funding for state parks; and
- accomplishes these things with NO major taxes increases – capital gains, carbon, cap and trade and most B&O tax proposals were taken off the table.
The budget vote was 90-8 in the House and 38-10 in the Senate. It was the strongest budget vote in the House since 1989 when the vote was 93-1.
The Legislature also passed a strong, bipartisan capital budget. This construction package provides infrastructure for K-12 education, higher education, correction facilities and maintenance and repair where it is needed most, while also addressing stewardship projects protecting our farmlands, environment and water. Projects in or near the 8th District with capital budget funding include the WSU academic building, Tri-Tech Skills Center, the Kennewick Boys and Girls Club, the KiBe High School parking lot, and more. To view some of these projects, click here.
WSU President Elson Floyd
I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of WSU President Elson Floyd. My condolences go out to his family and friends. The Cougars lost a leader with vision and passion, and the state lost one of Higher Education's biggest advocates. If you'd like to watch TVW footage of the House honoring the life and service of President Floyd, click here. Or you can click here to listen to my floor speech.
I want to thank you for reading my e-newsletters throughout session and for staying involved. Your input is vital to the work I do on your behalf in Olympia. If you ever need a speaker for your civic group, church group, community organization or business meetings, please keep me in mind. It's my privilege and honor to serve you in the state Legislature.