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So Just What’s in The New WA State Budget? Legislators Scrambling to Approve Friday

Legislature reportedly scrambling to pass budget today
(legislature.wa.gov)

Hard on the heels of the news that a budget had been approved and was going to be voted on,  we are still waiting concrete details of what’s inside it!

Based upon comments of legislators and previous news from less than 24-48 hours ago, we can paint a general picture:

  • According to multiple sources, House Democrats gave up at least 78% of the new $1.5 billion in taxes they wanted.   According to comments from GOP legislators, it appears they gave up on the extension of the B&O (business and occupation) tax, the tax on bottled water and soda.  But this is not officially confirmed.
  • As late as June 25th, OregonLive.com (the online version of the Oregonian Newspaper) was reporting House Democrats were still pushing a 10.5 cent increase in the state gas tax, of which 6 cents would go into effect August 1st. of this year. We don’t know if this is part of the plan.
  • It appears state revenue forecasts were better than expected, which allowed for more cutting and compromising in the budget.
  • Nearly $15 billion of the $33 billion budget will go towards K-12 education.  Due to the legally-mandated two year increases in the amount of money the state has to invest in schools,  legislators had to find a way to get those funds.

Legislators will not comment, and there’s been very little coverage of the claims the House Democrats “caved” on many new taxes in order to achieve a compromise and avoid a politically damaging state government shutdown.  Some insiders in Olympia are saying the GOP controlled Senate played hardball until at least a number of compromises were reached.

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