Local projects in state budget
A new state budget is being hailed by lawmakers for its funding for public schools and local projects.
Hours before a partial shutdown of state government would have been necessary without a finalized budget, the Senate and House of Representatives approved a two-year budget plan to cover state operating expenses and state infrastructure projects.
The budgeting includes $33.6 billion to run the state in 2013-15, a $575 million reserve fund, 12 percent growth of spending on education, and 3 percent increase of non-education spending.
Rep. Gary Alexander, a budget leader among Republicans in the House, said the budget “compromise” that legislators reached after months of partisan wrangling, “is a good first step toward providing a stable and secure educational future for all Washington students” mandated by the state Supreme Court in its McCleary ruling on state funding of schools.
“This budget agreement strongly supports our higher-education institutions through college-bound scholarships to reach inspiring students from our lower income families” without increased tuition, “a significant departure from our recent history of double digit tuition hikes,” Alexander said. “It also protects our investment in our rainy-day (reserve) fund and keeps our promise to repeal a temporary surtax on businesses.”
Alexander is from the Second District’s Thurston and Pierce county areas that also are represented by state Sen. Randi Becker. Becker pointed out that the budget includes $14.4 million in funding for infrastructure and community-oriented projects for the district.
She noted the capital budget includes $1 million to complete the development of Ashford County Park and $60,000 to build a memorial at Mount Rainier National Park for park ranger Margaret Anderson, who was killed while on duty in 2012.
“These are worthy projects that will be points of pride for our community for years to come,” said Becker, a Republican from the Eatonville area.