Politics blog

Gov. Inslee's budget is on the table, calls for $200M in new spending

OlympianDecember 17, 2013 

Gov. Jay Inslee is laying out his supplemental budget request today at 11 a.m., calling for roughly $200 million in new spending - much of it to cover increased costs for ongoing programs. The budget does not call for tax increases or closure of tax exemptions, but it does extend a research and development tax break for high-tech industry that expires in 2015.

A full budget highlight's document is here. Links to other budget details are here.

New spending is scattered through the budget, including  money for an expected 10,000 more students in K-12 schools. But the budget does not include cost of living pay adjustments sought by the Washington Education Association for teachers.

"I'm pleased to be releasing a hold steady budget in a get ready year," Inslee said in his press conference that just started a few minutes ago. He said the state is in a lull before the bigger investments in K-12 are needed in 2015 to meet requirements of the Supreme Court in the McCleary case.
Inslee said about a third of his proposed increases in spending is due to higher enrollments and caseload costs. But he also calls for $8 million for mental health services for children to start addressing a lawsuit, $11 million for wildfire costs, $10 million for child-care providers' rates through collectively bargained agreement, and a higher payment to nursing home providers in the Medicaid program.
UPDATE: This post was updated to add links and correct the amount of new spending. A balance sheet suggests spending is $252 million higher, but state budget director David Schumacher said that is the result of shifts of funds between accounts that in effect double-counted some education dollars.
The actual new spending is closer to $200 million including about $150 million to maintain programs that have additional enrollees or costs and $55 million in new proposals. 

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