Democrats In Olympia Strike Deal On Updated Spending Plan

Democrats in the Washington State Legislature are proposing more spending
The WA Legislature adjourns its 60 day session


Listen: Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports on the budget deal. (Runtime: 59 seconds)

Majority Democrats in the Washington House and Senate on Wednesday have struck a deal on an update to the state’s two-year budget. The agreement comes with one day to go in the state’s 60-day legislative session.

The two sides have agreed to boost spending in several key areas, but jettisoned some tax cuts. Gone from the final budget are proposals for a sales tax holiday over Labor Day weekend and a plan to make state parks and fairs free for a year. Instead Democrats will provide tax relief to small businesses. But most of their focus is on spending. Big ticket items include state employee pay raises, money for additional school nurses and counselors and higher reimbursement rates for childcare providers and those caring for people with developmental disabilities. Democrat Christine Rolfes chairs the Senate budget committee.

“If you are a family receiving state services, your family member will be taken care more securely and stably,” said Christine Rolfes, chair of the Senate budget committee.

But Republican budget writer Lynda Wilson laments the lack of across-the-board tax cuts.

 “No property tax relief, and no gas tax relief and that’s really where it’s hurting our families in Washington state right now,” she said. 

Overall, Democrats will increase state spending by about $5 billion, or roughly eight percent.

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