As we enter the second week of the 2014 legislative session I can’t help but notice how different this session looks compared to last year. At the beginning of last year’s session the talk in Olympia was all about budget deficits, the need for tax increases and the failure of the state to step up to the plate on funding for education.
This year has a different feel to it. Sure, there are some who want more dollars for K-12 and others who want to tax you more, but there are some real changes as well.
For the first time in five years we came into a session with a state budget that is deficit-free. This was also the first time in 26 years that college tuition didn’t go up. When was the last time our schools received nearly $1 billion in additional basic education funding? And for the first time in a decade we returned to the Capitol with a balanced budget – one that didn’t require a general tax increase.
What changed? The Majority Coalition Caucus. Last year we put party politics aside in the Senate and worked together to make some historic changes in the way Olympia does business.