Regional News

Parlette joins in strong bipartisan vote for Senate budget proposal


Mar 02, 2014

Sen. Linda Evans Parlette said Thursday’s 41-8 vote for the Senate supplemental budget is proof that a shared-governing approach is working at the state Capitol.

“For the second straight year we invited the Senate minority’s budget negotiators to join us at the table, from day one, and the result was a truly lopsided vote in favor of the budget they helped produce,” said Parlette, chair of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus.

“This budget came out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee one vote shy of receiving unanimous support, and yesterday 15 members of the Senate minority joined our coalition’s 26 members – two Democrats and 24 Republicans – in saying yes. It’s a remarkable change from the way things used to be done in Olympia, and it’s just what I hoped for when our coalition assumed leadership of the Senate in 2013.”

Parlette, R-Wenatchee, pointed at three highlights in the budget, filed as Senate Bill 6002: it adds more support for K-12 education, allows in-state tuition at state-run colleges to remain unchanged for another year, and doesn’t rely on tax increases to balance.

Because the two-year budget adopted last year is still in balance, lawmakers could focus on making thoughtful adjustments this year rather than scramble to address a budget shortfall. Parlette won budget-committee support Wednesday for four budget amendments that received the full Senate’s endorsement yesterday. They would:

  • Restore $1.8 million in funding for local public-health jurisdictions statewide;
  • Commission a thorough review of state financial-aid programs by mid-January 2015, aimed at making college in Washington more accessible and affordable and simplifying a process that has become complicated for students (to be done at no cost; Parlette said the idea was suggested by WSU President Elson Floyd);
  • Restore funding for a public-employee recognition program managed by the Secretary of State (cost: $16,000); and
  • Fund a study to determine why sockeye salmon are disappearing from the Lake Washington basin in King County. A decade ago that fishery had an economic value of $9-12 million; now there are fewer than 1½ fish returning for each parent spawner, meaning for every sockeye harvested, at least two others have to escape and successfully spawn just to maintain the run (cost: $150,000).

 “I am already hearing from county health officials who are glad we’re preserving their funding, and the other amendments I proposed are worth the investments they represent. When you set the right priorities and live within your means, these are the kinds of choices you can make,” she said.

Friday afternoon the Senate also approved a supplemental capital budget, by a 31-18 vote.

 


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