Smith and Hayes vote in favor of state operating budget
Tenth District representatives voted in support of a responsible state operating budget today that prioritizes education and essential services. The compromise budget includes more than a $1 billion increase in K-12 education funding and takes an important first step toward fulfilling the state's education funding obligations. The spending plan for the 2013-15 biennium passed with strong bipartisan support and a vote of 81-11.
Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, issued the following statement:
“For the first time in six years, I voted in favor of an operating budget. Although there are some important issues with which I disagree, it significantly moves in the direction of serious reform, sustainability and a heightened commitment to our children both in K-12 and higher education. Not only does it meet our goal with a billion dollars going toward our McCleary obligations, but for the first time since 1986 it does not raise tuition. This spending plan also should be noted for what it does not include – the approximate $900 million dollars in tax increases proposed by House majority leadership.
“I am also very pleased we were able to tie some of the economic development reforms to the budget negotiating process. I believe our economy is still fragile, so it is essential we accelerate addressing some of our competitive disadvantages, such as the regulatory burden our job creators face.
“However, there are some concerning pieces to this budget. As with any compromise, there are policies I support and policies with which I have concerns. I am committed to addressing those concerns in the next budget cycle, but the final agreement was a true compromise and why I chose to vote 'yes.' Our leadership played a key role in facilitating this final agreement. It is not a perfect budget, but it is truly a good, bipartisan, compromise agreement that moves the state in the right direction.”
Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island issued the following statement:
“This budget is not perfect and there are provisions I do not like. However, there are many more positives than negatives in this plan and it goes a long way toward correcting this state's course.
“I'm particularly pleased this budget steps up to meet our state's paramount duty by providing an additional one billion dollars to education. It provides the care needed for our most vulnerable citizens, especially those with developmental disabilities and our elderly population. Plus, it ensures funding for public safety to protect our communities and local neighborhoods from harm.
“For the first time in 28 years, there will be no tuition increases at the state's colleges and universities. That will be a tremendous help, especially for middle-class families who are struggling to pay for higher education.
“It also does not include the nearly $900 million dollars in tax increases originally proposed by House Democrats. And it expires more than $600 million dollars in taxes, including those against businesses, which should provide greater opportunities for employers to hire more people.
“Finally, the budget puts away about 2 percent in reserves, with most of it in our state's protected rainy day fund. That's a good start, but I believe we need to double that reserve fund in the future.
“It truly is a compromise budget and I'm very pleased that it addresses the state's priorities while protecting taxpayers.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications