Gov. Inslee releases budget proposal with pay increase for teachers and new taxes. Senate budget leader is skeptical.

Gov. Jay Inslee has released his supplemental budget proposal for the 2016 legislative session. Budget overview here. A  press release from the budget office says, 

“Six months ago, I signed a new two-year budget for the state. As I said at the time, it is a great budget for Washington state — a budget that is moving our state forward,” Inslee said. “This supplemental budget will focus on implementing these historic investments and make modest, responsible adjustments to follow through on our good work.”

The governor also proposes separate legislation to boost teacher pay, a response to a reported teacher shortage. Funding for the pay hike would come from repealing tax exemptions. 

To cover the costs of this plan, Governor Inslee proposes closing or limiting several outdated tax breaks that are not as high a priority as our state’s K-12 education system. His plan would raise about $101 million in the next fiscal year by making the following tax and revenue changes effective July 1, 2016:

  • Repeal the use tax exemption for extracted fuel.
  • Refund the state portion of sales tax to nonresidents.
  • Repeal the sales tax exemption on bottled water.
  • Limit the real estate excise tax exemption for banks.

The Seattle Times reports on the proposals.

Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday morning released his proposed 2016 supplemental budget — along with a separate plan to boost teacher salaries, to be paid for by closing several tax preferences.

The governor’s supplemental budget would draw $178 million from the state’s reserve funds to pay for the costs of fighting this year’s wildfires, which burned 1 million acres and destroyed more than 300 homes.

Inslee also budgeted $16.4 million to pay the $100,000-per-day fines imposed in August by the state Supreme Court.

The Times reports reactions from Inslee’s likely challenger.

Bill Bryant, a Republican challenging Inslee in next year’s gubernatorial election, criticized Inslee’s proposal for including new spending and called the plan to eliminate tax preferences a tax hike.

The Associated Press has a response from the Senate Ways and Means committee chair.

…Senate Republicans’ main budget writer, Sen. Andy Hill, criticized the plan, writing that “the governor continues to offer plenty of ways to spend taxpayer dollars, but fails to provide a sustainable way to pay for it.”

Education funding continues to roil legislative waters. Jerry Cornfield reports that the bipartisan group charged with developing a legislative plan to respond to the state Supreme Court’s school funding order will not have a plan in place by year’s end.

The contingent of Democratic and Republican lawmakers met for a final time in 2015 Monday, adjourning without agreement on the contours or content of a proposal to put forth in the 2016 session.

They plan to gather again Jan. 4 — one week before the session begins — with hope but uncertainty of reaching an accord.

The 2016 session is scheduled to last 60 days.