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Sunday, February 25, 2024

 K-12 education, public safety lead list of changes made in supplemental budget adopted by Senate

Sen. Lynda Wilson

Sen. Lynda Wilson offers comments about the $71.6 billion plan

By a strongly bipartisan 45-4 vote, the Senate today (Feb. 23) adopted a supplemental operating budget that would make important investments in K-12 education and public safety without requiring any tax increases.

Sen. Lynda Wilson ↗, R-Vancouver and Senate Republican budget leader, offered these comments about the $71.6 billion plan, which revises the 2023-25 biennial operating budget adopted in April 2023:

“For years, learning loss and special-education advocacy have been high priorities for Republicans when it comes to supporting K-12 education. This budget addresses both of those, finally, which is in line with our efforts to make the lives of our state’s children better. We also have been building a long list of public-safety needs, with the drug-overdose crisis at the top, and at last, there is bipartisan support here for responses to those. It will take a lot of work beyond this budget to make Washington safer, but I’m encouraged more today than when our session began nearly seven weeks ago.

“Ideally, this budget would do something to lower the cost of living. Unfortunately, the huge budget surpluses are in the past, so the best we can do is avoid more taxes, keep the spending increases within reason and put as much as we can into reserve. This hits that mark pretty well. Add in the cooperation from the majority side, which listened to our ideas and concerns, and it’s not a surprise that it received such strong support on both sides of the aisle.”

Wilson said the budget was changed relatively little by the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday and still contains the important appropriations she highlighted when the proposal was released Monday ↗.

The next step toward producing a final supplemental budget is for Senate and House budget leaders to meet and reconcile differences between their respective plans. The resulting compromise must be approved before lawmakers adjourn for the year March 7.

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Michael Maren
Michael Maren
Former marine biologist who likes to spend as much time in the tropics as possible, due to a horrible time I once had in Alaska. Brrrr.

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