House Democrats Unveil 2015-17 Budget Plan Supporters Turn Out For Transportation Package

This morning, House Democrats released their proposed 2015-17budget and revenue plan. (TVW coverage of press conference here.)

The Spokesman-Review summarizes the proposals:

Washington would spend an extra $1.4 billion on public schools, increase money for mental health programs and give raises to teachers and state workers under a two-year budget unveiled this morning by House Democrats.

To help pay for this $38.8 billion spending plan, they are proposing several tax increases, including a capital gains tax on investment gains of more than $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a couple; a bump in the business and occupation tax rate on services and closing seven tax breaks that have survived previous attempts at elimination.

 As we wrote this morning, that’s a 13 percent increase in state spending, which House leadership believes will satisfy the state Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate and maintain services. The revenue package is presented as a step toward increasing tax fairness and restoring spending reductions made during the recession. The governor’s proposed cap-and-trade taxes are not included in the House proposal, but members indicated they’re open to considering such taxes but think it will take more time to understand how to implement such a program.

Although it might go without saying, we’ll say it: Senate leadership has argued that the budget can be balanced and McCleary obligations satisfied without new taxes. Further, they’ve said that to be considered, the House budget must include passage of the necessary revenue bills to fund it. 

The House Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on the spending plan Monday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m. 

The Senate is expected to release its plan in the coming weeks.  

The other key event in House chambers this week was yesterday’s House Transportation Committee hearing on the bipartisan, comprehensive transportation package passed by the Senate. Supporters of the Senate plan turned out in force, offering compelling testimony about the need to act now. Thank you to the many Opportunity Washington partners who made the trip to Olympia!

For more on these and other issues, please note our recent blog posts below.

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