House Democrats Propose $100 Million in New Revenues – Teacher COLA Included in Budget

By Brad Shannon, February 26, 2014, The Olympian


House Democrats released their supplemental budget proposal at the Capitol on Wednesday, echoing the new-revenues plan outlined a day before by minority Democrats in the Senate. They would give cost of living pay adjustments to public-school teachers and raise $100 million in new revenues by closing four tax exemptions.


The tax plan is identical to one outlined Tuesday by minority Democrats in the Senate.


The proposal is half the size of Gov. Jay Inslee’s, which sought to raise $200 million a year by closing seven exemptions. Those tax breaks targeted by the House and Senate Democrats are exemptions for recycled fuel products used by refineries, for bottled water sales, for out-of-state shoppers, and for re-sellers of prescriptions.


House Appropriations Committee chairman Ross Hunter, D-Medina, said his proposal is “a modest budget. It doesn’t do a whole lot.’’


Budget writers in the Senate – both Democrats and Republicans – have embraced a base supplemental budget plan that does not raise new revenues and adds about $38 million for materials, supplies and operating costs in K-12 schools. That compares to $60 million in the House plan.


Democrats in both chambers favor the cost of living increase for teachers.


House Democrats also would bump up community mental health funding by $10.4 million and add $20.5 million for contracts with child-care providers.


The Republican-dominated Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has resisted calls to raise revenues this year.


Both chambers are working on funding plans to give to the Supreme Court by April 30 showing how the state would meet its obligation to fully fund public schools by 2018.


We’ll have more for the morning paper.

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