|Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature has reached an historic budget agreement that puts students first. For the first time in over 30 years over 50 percent of the state’s budget (which will be nearly $44 billion for 2017-19) will go toward meeting our state’s obligation to fully fund education. During the next four years, we will drive over $7 billion into basic education. That is cause to celebrate.
I know there has been frustration with how long it has taken to get to this point, but divided government is challenging. The outcomes, however, are great for Washington’s 1 million schoolchildren and taxpayers.
The Senate was able to stave off billions in new taxes proposed by Democrats – income taxes, taxes on small business and taxes on energy. Our Senate majority prioritized state spending, and lived within our means to deliver critical services of state government. I am proud of this budget for many reasons.
We have funded new collective-bargaining agreements for our state employees but also garnered needed transparency reforms in the bargaining process. That is the first time the bargaining law has been amended in over a decade.
Seniors are protected with expansion of the Meals on Wheels program, increased reimbursement rates for nursing homes, and new support for unpaid family caregivers.
This budget includes significant investment and reforms to our state’s mental-health system to improve patient care and serve more people in need.
Here are high-level details of the budget.
|Investing in our students’ future
School districts across our state will see a significant increase in resources. We focused in increasing spending per student that is equitable and ample. Decades of overreliance on local levies to pay for basic education had created unacceptable inequity around and the state. Our plan creates an equal playing field while acknowledging regional differences and community needs. It balances state responsibility with local control and is a huge win for teachers and students. The Legislature has hopefully been able to solve a generational education problem with thoughtful reforms.
Click here to read more.
Click here to see details about per pupil funding for school districts.
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I hope you have a fun and safe Fourth of July celebrating the independence of this great nation.
Your State Senator