On Sunday, April 28 at 11:59 p.m., the 2019 legislative session came to an end. And not a moment too soon… for in the final days and hours, majority Democrats passed several measures that will increase costs for many Washington residents in the near future.
Operating budget. House Bill 1109 is the new budget to cover most state-government operating costs for 2019-21. It will spend over $52 billion in the next two years, and is balanced with $800 million in new taxes. This budget was passed by the Legislature largely along party lines. Although the new budget boosts spending on K-12, higher education and mental health, I believe we could have accomplished that without imposing dramatic tax increases on the citizens of our state. See the graphic below for more details on the 2019 session tax increases.
Also included in the operating budget is $750,000 earmarked for an unnecessary study of the potential breaching or removal of the lower Snake River dams. I say “unnecessary” because action against the Snake River dams will not help with the recovery of “southern resident” orcas in Puget Sound. Additionally, this isn’t even a decision the state can make — only Congress can decide to breach these federal dams. This study is a waste of taxpayer money.