Saturday, March 3, 2012

Muddy Olympia budget situation . . .
Earlier in the week what appeared to be an easy budget negotiations in Olympia became anything but on Friday when the Senate republicans, with help from several democrats, were successful in getting the republican budget to the floor. Early today that budget was adopted with a few minor amendments. Since it doesn't delay payments to school districts, a major component of both the house and governor's budgets, I would guess that finishing this week has just become much more difficult. 

This budget includes a much larger rainy day fund and also cuts to both K-12 and higher education, something that the Senate democrats did not do.  The K-3 class size reduction would be a problem for us - we'll need to see how big on Monday.  You can see the differences in the two budgets below.

An important difference between the house and senate budgets for us is there are no provisions for cutting levy equalization or the levy lid in 2014 that were contained in the house proposal.  This would be a savings of over $2 million in that budget year.  For many in our profession, however, there is one component of the Senate budget that will not be supported.  SSB 6442 to create a consolidated K-12 health care system is alive and was poised for a vote today.

Needless to say, this came as a complete surprise as today's front page Seattle Times headline suggests.

These words from the article show us what we have to look forward to as this budget meets the solid Democratic majority House budget and Governor's budget.

If reactions by House Speaker Frank Chopp and Gov. Chris Gregoire to Friday's events are any guide, the Legislature will be in town far beyond the scheduled March 8 adjournment day.

"The Senate Republicans have exercised the worst abuse of power I have ever witnessed in the Legislature," Chopp, D-Seattle, said in a statement. "It says something about them that the minute they gained power, they abused it."

Gregoire, standing outside the speaker's office, was furious as well.

"I am chagrined that they're over there right now working on something I've never seen, the members have never seen — members on both parties have never seen, and they're going to take a vote tonight?" she said.

"This is not how we do business in Washington state."

1 comment:

Scott Mitchell said...

What a mess, that is all I can say. It is amazing!!!