Wednesday, April 4, 2012

House Democrats release budget proposals

Rep. Hans Dunshee at this morning's press conference
As the end of the special session approaches on Tuesday, House Democrats unveiled a good faith plan in a press conference this morning to move forward on a compromise with the Senate around government reform measures, an operating budget, and a capital budget.
The reform measures are currently being discussed in the House Ways & Means Committee. You can also read about the numerous government reforms championed by House Democrats in recent years here and here.
As for the operating budget, our proposal no longer includes a $330 million K-12 apportionment shift. Instead, House Democrats have proposed modifying the method in which funds are transferred to the account that distributes sales tax revenues to local governments. (More details on that proposal to follow in a separate blog post.) House Democrats remain committed to making no cuts to basic and higher education. Our budget also preserves funding for vital public services like the Basic Health Plan, critical access hospitals, and adult day health.
This budget solves a $1 billion budget deficit problem by enacting several government reforms and without raising additional revenue. This is the very definition of “moving to the middle.”
The new House budget will be introduced as a striking amendment to the original House budget – HB 2127.
Joining House budget writers Rep. Ross Hunter and Rep. Pat Sullivan at this morning's press conference was House Capital Budget chair Rep. Hans Dunshee, who spoke about the urgency of putting unemployed Washingtonians back to work by passing a jobs package.  Rep. Dunshee held up a copy of today's Olympian newspaper, in which the lead story is about the impending loss of federal long-term unemployment benefits for Washingtonians.  He also played a brief video interview of a woman who used to work as an architect for 20 years until the downturn in the construction industry.  She is now trained as an iron worker, and hopes that the legislature will approve a jobs package so that construction projects pick up again around the state.

To read this post in Spanish, please click here.