Tri-Cities lawmaker applauds the no-new taxes, pro-education budget
After a marathon session that saw more than 70 amendments and floor discussions that finally adjourned at 4:15 a.m. Friday, lawmakers are poised to take a final vote today on the Washington State Senate’s two-year, operating budget proposal.
Sen. Sharon Brown, the Senate’s vice president pro tempore, used the weekend break in action to explain the budget to her constituents and voice her support for the Republican-led effort to prioritize spending on education while keeping the budget within existing revenue.
“I’m proud that the Senate is passing a budget that keeps our promise to fund education, make college more affordable and protect the most vulnerable, without raising taxes,” Brown said. “With more than $3 billion in new revenue due to the recovering economy, there was absolutely no reason to go back to taxpayers to ask for more money.”
In her weekend video update, which was sent to 8th Legislative District constituents, Brown emphasized that the budget reflects the Majority Coalition Caucus’ commitment to education.
“Seventy-eight percent of new spending in this budget goes toward education,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “We make the largest new K-12 investment in state history, directing more than 47 percent of the state budget toward public schools – a level not seen in 30 years.”
In addition to K-12 spending, the Senate budget also makes significant investments in higher education and includes a tuition reduction at four-year institutions of, on average, 25 percent – the first tuition cut in more than 40 years.
“Our budget is sustainable with no new taxes,” Brown points out. “In fact our tuition reduction is the first significant tax cut for middle- and low-income families in memory.
“It equates to more than $300 million in lower college costs for middle-income students and families.”
Brown acknowledged that the budget is a work in progress. “While this budget is not in its final form and work certainly remains, it is a good start to moving Washington forward,” Brown said.
The video may be viewed by clicking the image below: