Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The budget has passed the House!

A budget that is balanced, supports basic education, maintains the social safety net, AND keeps higher education affordable – at the same time as per-capita revenues are at a 50-year-low? That is exactly what Rep. Ross Hunter and the House Democrats have put forth in their 2012 supplemental budget (HB 2127).
While it was necessary for some cuts to be made, the 2012 supplemental budget that just passed the House tonight continues to fund vital programs like Disability Lifeline medical services and the Basic Health Plan. Elimination of the Basic Health Plan would mean 35,000 residents would be completely uninsured, not to mention removing all hope for the 150,000 Washington residents on the waiting list. By keeping these important programs running, we are enabling Washington to bridge the gap to 2014, when the Affordable Care Act is expanded, providing insurance coverage for hundreds of thousands of Washington residents.
This budget will also enable Washington to better meet its “paramount duty” to fund basic K-12 education, as reinforced by the state Supreme Court in January.
This budget actually spends less than the most recently projected revenues. After adjusting for inflation, Washington state is currently spending at 1985 levels, with the lowest state and federal tax rates in 50 years. These are hard times financially, but let’s not forget the February official revenue forecast which included the first increase in four years, as well as a predicted decline in welfare cases. In layman’s terms, this means $400 million on the upside. 

To read this story in Spanish, click here.