State lawmakers announced a budget agreement Thursday that included a billion-dollar investment in K-12 education and a number of reforms to state government. In addition, 8th District Sen. Sharon Brown said she’s pleased that two of her regulatory streamlining bills will also be signed by the Governor before the end of the 2013 legislative sessions.
“Senate Bills 5679 and 5718 – which both passed the House of Representatives last night – will help reduce the regulatory and clerical burdens faced by private business owners when interacting with state government,” Brown, R-Kennewick. “When private businesses spend less time and resources dealing with government regulations, they can divert those resources toward creating jobs and hiring more workers.”
SB 5679 will require the Department of Ecology, the Department of Labor and Industries and the Department of Health to annually review their rules, while SB 5718 will help create a single online portal through which all businesses in Washington may interact with state government.
In addition to seeing her bills pass, Brown says she’s thrilled that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have finally found common ground on the state operating budget. The final agreement uses $2.8 billion in anticipated new revenue to prioritize basic education, moving the state’s constitutional priorities in the right direction.
“The bottom line is that this state would be in a much worse position financially if we hadn’t stood in defense of the taxpayers who sent us here. With the favorable increase in the recent revenue forecast there was no need to raise taxes. Our majority coalition was able to derail over a billion dollars in tax increases proposed by the House majority,” Brown said. “The 33.6 billion-dollar budget we passed today covers state operating expenses for the next two years, spends $15.2 billion on K-12 education – including a 1.6 billion-dollar increase over the current budget cycle, freezes tuition at state colleges and universities for two years, and reduces the rate of government growth. Additionally, if the revenue forecasts are correct, when the Legislature returns in January it will return to a budget that is balanced, lives within its means and has a healthy rainy day fund.”