Sen. Sharon Brown today voted for an updated state-government spending plan that she says focuses on education as the state’s top budget priority, while protecting Washington’s fragile economic recovery.
“The Majority Coalition Caucus’ original budget proposal put education first, limited the growth of non-education spending and contained no new taxes. There was a lot to like about that bipartisan plan,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “The budget we adopted today looks a lot like our first proposal and continues to reflect our commitment to seeing the state live within its means.”
Brown pointed out that with $2 billion more in revenue expected to come in naturally due to slight, but positive, economic growth, now is not the time for broad, general tax increases that would hamper our economy and risk driving away employers and the jobs they create.
“The economy isn’t where any of us want it to be; however, it’s growing just enough to generate more revenue that can be put toward state services – around 2 billion dollars more. Naturally there will always be special-interest groups that want more tax dollars sent to Olympia, but I prefer not taking more money out of the private sector, where it can be better used to create jobs, send kids to college or put food on the table.”
Brown was especially pleased to be able to support a budget that focuses on education. The Senate plan invests $1.5 billion in K-12, with $1 billion going directly towards basic education. That puts the Senate budget at nearly $300 million more in education spending than the House budget. The House would require a separate tax-increase bill to pass in order to fully-fund its education budget.
“It’s common-sense,” said Brown. “The families and small businesses I represent in the Tri-Cities all know that they must live within their means and pay their most important bills first. For this state, our most important obligation is providing a quality education system for our children.
“As our Supreme Court ruled in its McCleary decision, providing for education – through both funding and reforms – is the paramount duty of the state ‘above all other government functions.’ I agree. The education of our children deserves our first dollars, not our last dime. This budget puts those children first.”