2014 Session Begins with high hopes, challenges

Today began the 60-day legislative session for 2014, and it also marks the first session we’ve seen in a long time that is beginning without a deficit to reconcile. That’s due to the balanced, reform-focused budget proposed and passed by the Majority Coalition Caucus in 2013. Last year we promised to work on creating jobs, improving education and adopting sustainable budgets and we’ve done just that.

But there is more to be done. Our state’s economy has been slow to improve post-recession and we need to continue finding ways to get people back to work. Last year we put about a billion dollars into K-12 education; an unprecedented amount yes, but not nearly enough according to the Washington State Supreme Court. We’ve got our work cut out for us in the area of education again this year.

And though we have no deficit at present, conditions in this fragile economy could easily shift and put us back into the red again. It’s up to us to find ways to further streamline government to make it more efficient, effective and less costly.