OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Governor Jay Inslee called a proposed state budget from the Republican-controlled Senate "deeply flawed." The Republican budget was written with Democratic input and would spend $33.3 billion over two years.
The plan would provide one billion new dollars for K-12 education, an attempt to meet the State Supreme Court's mandate to fully fund basic education. Budget Committee Chair Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) said most of the money would come from increased revenue. The budget also calls for $300 million for higher education and more than $25 million for early learning, almost a seven percent increase in education spending.
"I can actually go back (to my consitutents) and say I'm moving the ball in the right direction," said Hill.
The budget doesn't increase taxes or extend expiring ones. It does not close tax exemptions to certain industries. Neither does it fully fund the state's capital budget nor restore cuts made to social services during the recession.
The plan would save $127 million by moving thousands of low-income government workers into federally subsidized health care and axe $180 million from a welfare program that, among other things, provides childcare to the working poor.
In a posting on the Secretary of State's website, House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter (D-Bellevue) called the budget unsustainable and in some aspects "downright cruel." Human services advocate Nick Federici said the poor continue to bear the brunt of past cuts.
"This budget continues their misery and takes more money out of their pockets," he said.
The budget could come to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as Friday.