Here’s how the two major state budgets differ

If you want a quick, spoken explanation of the differences in the House Democratic and Senate Republican budgets, Robert Mak has you covered.

Rachel La Corte from the Associated Press gave you a written explanation on Tuesday.

Senate Republicans offer a tuition cut and reject a collective bargaining agreement the governor’s office reached with state employees. The party then offers $1,000 per year to all state employees. A statement issued by the Washington Federation of State Employees argues that the Legislature can reject an agreement, but not make a new proposal.

“If contracts are rejected, the process calls for a return to negotiations. In this instance, Senate budget writers have by-passed our rights by instead authorizing flat raises of $1000 per full-time employee (prorated for part-time positions) per year of the two-year biennium. Under the collective bargaining statute, they cannot offer alternatives. In this case, the Senate has offered an alternative that is illegal under the law.”

State Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, highlights the “no new taxes” feature of the Republican budget, making no mention of the state employee clause. State Sen. Tim Sheldon, the Potlatch Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, also highlighted the “no new taxes” feature of the Senate budget, but also addressed the collective bargaining rejection. He said the budget, “Provides a flat $2,000 annual cost-of-living increase for state employees – meaning 25,000 state workers will see a larger increase than under agreements bargained between the governor’s office and public employee unions.”

Those were the only locals who commented.

Their full statements follow.


OLYMPIA… Sen. Jan Angel said the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has delivered a “no new taxes” budget that makes education the top priority and delivers tax relief and college affordability to families across Washington. Senate budget leaders released their 2015-17 state operating budget proposal today with a pledge to capture savings and keep the state’s economy moving with greater investments in education.

“This year the state has $3 billion more revenue to spend. We believe this is more than enough to provide the education and services our community expects,” said Angel.

Angel said the Senate’s 2015-17 spending proposal would put more money toward education – at a 3 to 1 ratio with new money — add vital mental-health services, as directed by the state Supreme Court, and cut college tuition by 25 percent all without raising taxes on hardworking families and employers.

Angel said the Senate proposal is clearly the right approach when compared to the House majority’s plan, which would raise state spending by 15 percent and require a $1.5 billion in tax increases.

“We worked hard to live within our means and keep taxes as a last resort. This budget delivers our community’s priorities without asking families and businesses for more money. $3 billion more is enough,” Angel said.

Angel believes the people she serves in the 26th Legislative District will see the Senate budget as a better way to move the state forward: protecting vital services, family budgets and taxpayers.

“The Senate budget proposal balances without new taxes because we had the courage to stick to our priorities; when you make living within your means a priority, then tax increases stay as a last resort,” said Angel.

The two sides need to reach agreement no later than Sunday, April 26 for the Legislature to conclude its 105-day session on schedule.


OLYMPIA… A no-new-tax Senate budget proposal offers the right way to address the state’s most fundamental needs, said state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch – fully funding K-12 education, cutting tuition and offering a flat-rate cost-of-living increase that boosts the state’s lowest-paid workers.

The Senate’s $38 billion budget proposal is a stark contrast to the spending plan issued by majority Democrats in the state House last week. The $39 billion House plan requires $1.5 billion in new taxes.

“I’ve said all along that we ought to be able to make do with what we have,” Sheldon said. “This proves we can do it.

“This is really a budget that puts the citizens first. By avoiding new taxes, it helps our economy recover, not just in King County but the rest of the state. Outside the state’s urban areas we haven’t shared in the boom times, and we just aren’t ready for a major tax increase.

“We found a way to provide a cost-of-living increase for public employees that directs money where it is most needed, into the pockets of the state’s lowest-paid workers. And we provide an average 25 percent cut in college and university tuition – really a middle-class tax cut. All the way around, this is a proposal we can be proud of.”

The Senate budget proposal:

n Directs most new spending toward education, by a three-to-one margin.

n Increases K-12’s share of the budget to 47 percent, a level not seen in the last 30 years.

n Provides $1.3 billion for basic education to satisfy the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling.

n Cuts college tuition an average 25 percent by the end of the biennium.

n Invests more than $70 million in state programs for the mentally ill, and avoids cuts to programs for the developmentally disabled.

n Provides a flat $2,000 annual cost-of-living increase for state employees – meaning 25,000 state workers will see a larger increase than under agreements bargained between the governor’s office and public employee unions.

n Leaves the largest reserve in state history, $500 million in the general fund and $900 million in the rainy day fund.

One thought on “Here’s how the two major state budgets differ

  1. Hi, I think the Republicans should reject the Governor’s agreement with the state employee union and then ask for new negotioation with the proviso that Unions may not get union dues from the employee’s paycheck and that unions are required to ask for a separate check from the employee for political contributions. The Governor is a puppet of the unions and his negotiations are not valid.

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