Members of the state Senate today passed the 2014 supplemental operating budget proposal, which was supported by Sen. Jim Honeyford. The Sunnyside Republican noted that last year’s balanced, bipartisan budget was the primary reason for broad agreement on the supplemental budget more than two weeks before the end of the 60-day legislative session.
“The Majority Coalition Caucus produced a budget in 2013 that put more than a billion dollars into education, froze tuition for Washington college students and was projected to balance for four years,” said Honeyford, who represents the 15th Legislative District. “Because of that success there was no need to find places to cut this year. We didn’t have to look for ‘low-hanging fruit’ or waste valuable time trying to prioritize equally important provisions. When budgets are written right the first time, it makes the process that much easier to fine tune in supplemental years.”
Honeyford, the Senate’s chief capital-budget writer, lauded the investments in basic education, higher education and business, noting that his tax-incentive extension to the honeybee industry in Washington is expected to help that industry grow.
“Including honeybee farmers in the broader definition of agriculture to exempt them from the onerous state business-and-occupation tax will give them reason to reinvest in their businesses, expand and create more private-sector jobs,” Honeyford noted. “Additionally, we’ll be freezing tuition for the second year in a row at our state colleges and universities. That will provide more opportunities for students to attend college, and hopefully find a thriving economic climate in Washington by the time they graduate. This budget is good for Washington.”
The Legislature is required to adopt a biennial operating budget in odd-numbered years; it may pass a supplemental budget in even-numbered years to make minor corrections to the two-year budget. This was the first time since 2008 the Legislature has started its annual session without facing a budget deficit; the budget adopted today would keep the state on that track.
The 2013-15 supplemental operating budget must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by the governor before it becomes law.