A lot of the attention in the House Democrats budget plan being unveiled during lunch today will be on the $1.34 billion in new revenues including closed tax exemptions for oil refineries, bottled water, insurance agents, and out-of-state purchases of everything except cars.
The Democrats $34.5 billion budget, which House Appropriations chairman Ross Hunter has said he would not unveil if he didnt have at least 50 votes to pass it, also spends at least $1.3 billion more than the Senates $33.2 billion spending plan that passed on a bipartisan vote of 30-to-18 Friday evening. An Appropriations hearing begins at 3:30 today on the House plan giving the public about three hours to react and comment.
Putting the two budgets on the table now fully joins the battle over how much to tax and spend at the Capitol in 2013 with the governor and a majority of Democrats in both chambers wanting to see extra revenues to blunt cuts the Senate made to human services.
You can find links to the budget documents on this page. More details are also likely to be revealed as the House Democratic budget leaders answer questions from reporters in a news conference that is starting right now. You can follow the Democrats press conference on the budget here on TVW.
Having looked at a few embargoed budget documents this morning, I can offer a quick sketch of the budget highlights and comparisons to the Senate plan. Its possible some of the numbers will change in final iterations but both approaches expand Medicaid fully to allow coverage of up to 250,000 more low-income people and both add substantially to public education spending.
First off on revenues, the House Democrats increase them. The Senate added revenues but not anything that carried the label tax on them.
Just like Gov. Jay Inslee proposed, the House Democrats would permanently extend a 0.3 percentage point tax surcharge on service businesses gross revenues to raise $534 million over two years and extend a beer tax both due to expire in June.