Friday, April 3, 2009

Jobs wanted

Thanks largely to the global recession, Washington state lost 40,000 jobs in 2008 and is expected to lose 40,000 more in 2009.

Rep. Hans Dunshee will announce details of a bonds package on Monday at noon that he says will create up to 90,000 construction jobs in Washington state.

We'll post details here once they're available. Stay tuned.

House fiscal committees heading to cut-off

Monday is the last day for fiscal committees (Ways and Means, Capital Budget, Finance, Transportation, and the Appropriation Committees) to pass Senate bills, so committee action will continue into this evening. House Ways and Means will hold a marathon meeting tomorrow, starting at 9:00 am. The list of bills they will consider is not completed, yet, but will be available online this afternoon.

Next Tuesday, we will return to all-day floor action!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Today's Hot List

The only committees meeting the rest of this week are the finance and appropriations-related committees.

Today at 1:30, the Capital Budget Committee will hold a public hearing on the budget proposal it released yesterday.

Also at 1:30, the Transportation Committee will meet. Mega-project junkies take note: the committee is scheduled to take executive action on the 520 tolling bill and Alaskan Way Viaduct bill (deep-bore tunnel option).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maintain. Protect. Preserve.

House Democrats released their 2009-2011 Capital Budget proposal this afternoon, and the overriding theme seems to be “maintain, preserve, protect.”

This is not a time for shiny new buildings, but it’s a good time to make sure we’re taking care of what we’ve already built. Rep. Hans Dunshee, who chairs the Capital Budget committee, compares it to the way families make do during tight times.

“You fix the car you have rather than buying a new one,” he said. “The state is doing the same thing.”

Details of the budget can be found here, but highlights include a transfer of $780 million in cash to help the Operating Budget, $827 million for K-12 school construction assistance, and nearly $680 million to fund emergency repairs to public buildings. Because emergency repairs often involve issues like plumbing, electrical work and roofing repair, the capital budget will fund jobs in every corner of the state – welcome news to local contractors who are feeling the pinch of the recession.

The House capital budget proposal is the last in a series of House and Senate budget proposals released this week.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

House budget proposal balanced, but cuts deep

As she released her 2009-2011 Operating Budget proposal today, House Ways and Means Chair Kelli Linville said her committee members “rose to the challenge presented by this global recession.”

“This is not the budget we’d all hoped to offer today,” said Linville. “However it reflects the reality of the economic situation we’re in today.”

“We worked to cushion the blow to our families and businesses,” she said. “We fully-fund Apple Health for kids, protect the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, and prioritize basic education.”

“We have a great partner in the White House,” said Rep.
Mark Ericks, vice-chair of Ways and Means. “The federal recovery dollars sent by President Obama allowed us to protect investments in education and health care we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Yes, they are one-time dollars, but they allowed us to buy some time for the kids in our state while our economy recovers.”

For the full story, click here. Additional info here and here.

House will roll out operating budget proposal shortly

In just over an hour, House budget writers will roll out their operating budget proposal for the 2009-2011 biennium.

Yesterday, Senate leaders unveiled their proposal.

This afternoon, all the appropriations committees (Education, Health and Human Services, General Government) will meet at 1:30 to take public comments about their portions of the budget proposal. The Ways & Means Committee will meet at 3:30 to take public comment.

We'll post more details once the press event begins at 10.
You can tune in or log on to TVW to watch it live.

Monday, March 30, 2009

House leaders roll out unprecedented investment in transportation

The week of budgets has begun in the House, as members of the Transportation Committee just announced the proposed 2009-11 transportation budget—and the news is good.

Chair Judy Clibborn unveiled her budget alongside Vice Chair Marko Liias and Rep. Christine Rolfes, outlining the state’s $7.5 billion transportation investment over the next two years, $4.6 billion of which will go toward the construction of more than 400 projects.

With this budget and the $341 million in federal stimulus money already appropriated this session, transportation leaders estimate roughly 49,000 jobs will be created, at a time when the economy needs it.

Budget highlights include keeping the mega-projects on track, building five new ferry vessels, moving forward the 2003 ‘Nickel’ and 2005 Transportation Partnership projects and making investments in alternative transportation and green initiatives.

Despite the slowing economy, budget writers identified areas for substantial savings in order to move forward with this unprecedented investment. Savings include operational efficiencies at the state’s transportation agencies and scaled-back ferry terminal improvements, among others.

For more information, check out the proposed budget or budget summary.

Budgets, budgets, budgets

It's the week people have been waiting for. The budget proposals everyone has anxiously been looking for are being printed and readied for prime time.

Rep. Judy Clibborn
, chair of the House Transportation Committee, will roll out the House 2009-2011 transportation budget proposal today at noon. The budget will then be heard in her committee today at 3:30.

(Her rollout follows today's 10:30 rollout of the Senate's operating budget proposal.

Rep. Kelli Linville, chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, plans to rollout the House operating budget proposal tomorrow at 10.

Rep. Hans Dunshee, chair of the House Capital Budget Committee, will have our capital budget proposal out on Wednesday afternoon.