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.” Continue reading →
Over the last few years, the state has cut more than 30 percent out of the funding provided for our colleges and universities. Because of those funding cuts, tuition rates are at all-time highs. This past week, the Majority Coalition Caucus rolled out our “10-3-50” plan that will increase funding for our higher education institutions by 10 percent (an additional $300 million). The plan will also reduce tuition rates by three percent and provide $50 million in competitive funding for colleges and universities.
We cannot continue to cut the funding for higher education every time we need to balance the state’s budget. If we do not lower the cost of higher education, our students will continue to incur debt at a record pace. This is not a fix-all plan, but it starts the conversation about what we need to provide a world-class education to every student, not just those willing to be saddled with debt.
The $2-billion-deficit budget that the House proposed on the last day of the regular session was a non-starter for the bipartisan Senate coalition committed to reform. We presented a responsible, sustainable budget from which we could have begun negotiations. The majority in the House, however, chose not to even allow their budget negotiators to the table to talk.
On March 15,the bipartisan coalition in the Senate once again attempted to break the budget stalemate with a revised version of our original reform budget. It was the first compromise proposal of the special session (you can watch the news conference at this link). Our hope was that it would encourage negotiations and get the budget process moving. Continue reading →