The Legislature approved a new two-year operating budget Monday evening that makes historic investments in all levels of education, cuts tuition at state-run colleges and universities and provides increases in teacher compensation, without raising taxes. Senate Bill 6052 was approved by a vote of 38-10 in the Senate and 90-8 in the House in time to take effect tomorrow and prevent any suspension in government services.
“This budget is a great example of what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “The Senate led with a basic principle: make higher education a priority. I am glad that our final budget demonstrates that with the first-ever tuition reduction in our state. This policy increases access to college for working families, easing the burden of student debt and tying future tuition growth to what families can afford.”
Education spending – meaning early learning, K-12 and higher education – climbs by 19 percent in the new budget, which puts $2.8 billion more specifically toward K-12 education. That will have K-12 districts receiving 47.5 percent of the state budget, a level not seen in 30 years.
“This is a very good budget that fully funds education, takes care of our most vulnerable citizens, and keeps our communities safe – while keeping the lid on taxes,” said Rep. Tom Dent, R- Moses Lake. “The budget makes historic investments in K-12 education, reduces K-3 class sizes, gives teachers cost-of-living adjustments, and makes major investments in early learning and the state’s mental health system.”
The budget invests in emergency drought funding, which is vital for the 13th District, and extends tax incentives for food processors and server farms, which bring significant revenue and jobs to the area.
“It is truly a great budget for the taxpayers of our state,” said Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “Citizens will not be asked to pay a new carbon tax, cap-and-trade tax or capital-gains tax as proposed by the governor and Democrats. We accomplished all of these significant policy goals, investing in the people of our state, without raising taxes.”