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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

With the March 7 session adjournment just around the corner, majority Democrats unveiled their supplemental spending proposals earlier this week.

The state has three budgets:

  • Operating budget – Funds the ongoing operations of state government agencies.
  • Transportation budget – Funds road and bridge maintenance, the state ferry system, the State Patrol, and other transportation-related activities and projects.
  • Capital budget – Funds infrastructure, such as buildings, utility systems, and parks.

The three budgets follow a two-year cycle. The Legislature sets the budgets during the long 105-day session that takes place in odd-numbered years. So these two-year budgets were crafted during last year’s session and passed by the Legislature.

In this year’s short 60-day session, we amend those spending plans. Those amended plans are called “supplemental budgets.” Generally, a supplemental budget represents mid-course corrections to the two-year spending plans to account for changes that have happened since we originally adopted those budgets last year.

Supplemental operating budget contains record spending with no tax relief

The new supplemental operating budget proposal, House Bill 2104, would increase spending to $72 billion. That’s a $2.2 billion increase over the 2023-25 budget we passed last year.

The good news is there are no new taxes. However, as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which primarily deals with spending in the state’s operating budget, I am concerned that state spending has more than doubled over the past 10 years. While the state is flush with cash, the same is not true for Washington families. Have you seen your family budget double during the past decade?

Also, with such an influx in revenue — nearly $3.3 billion additional tax dollars estimated to be collected over the next four years, we should be giving some of that money back to the taxpayers — many who are struggling with the high costs of food, gasoline and housing. Unfortunately, this budget spends more on government programs and does not provide tax relief.

The House Appropriations Committee passed the supplemental operating budget bill on Wednesday. It is scheduled to be up for consideration on the House floor on Saturday.

Are these LEAP budget links helpful to you?

I serve as a member of the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee. LEAP is the Legislature’s independent source of information for developing budgets, communicating budget decisions, and tracking revenue, expenditures, and staffing activities.

The state’s fiscal website, fiscal.wa.gov, was developed and is maintained by LEAP. The site displays budget data that is routinely updated. The website is intended to provide budget transparency through public access. However, I have personally found it to be difficult to navigate the links.

Below is the link to the new operating, capital and transportation budget proposals. You’ll find links to those proposals under the one featured below.

I would like to ask you to email me with your input about these links. Are they helpful? Are they difficult to navigate? Do you understand the information? What can we do better? Please send your comments to: joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov

Washington State Fiscal Information – Current budget proposals

This past Tuesday, the Washington State Potato Commission held its annual Potato Day at the state Capitol. Commission members and potato growers, including Matt Wood, Mike Connors and Scott Galbreath, seen above, helped to serve delicious baked potatoes to legislators, staff and visitors in the rotunda of the Legislative Building (Capitol).

Democrats schedule hearings on three initiatives

Last week, I sent out an opinion editorial to our local newspapers calling for majority Democrats to hold public hearings on the six citizens’ initiatives to the Legislature. On Friday last week, Democrats announced they will hold public hearings on only three of the six initiatives (see below). This follows weeks of House Republicans pushing for your voice to be heard on these policies. Be sure to follow the links below to sign in and testify.

Unfortunately, the three initiatives below will not receive public hearings.

Learn more about these initiatives on this website.

I am here to serve as well as represent you!

If you are having difficulties with a state agency or need help with state government, maybe my office can assist. Please contact me with your questions. It is an honor to serve and represent you!

Sincerely,


Joe Schmick

State Representative Joe Schmick, 9th Legislative District
RepresentativeJoeSchmick.com
426B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov
(360) 786-7844 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000