10 Things You Should Know About The Washington State Budget
Washington lawmakers plan to vote on a $43.7 billion, 620-page budget bill Friday. Unless they are speed readers, it's doubtful lawmakers--much less the public--will actually have time to read the budget prior to the vote. But there is a 24-page cheat sheet.
Here are 10 things you should know about the budget:
1. Increases spending by $5.2 billion or 13.5 percent over the current two-year budget.
2. Hikes the state property tax levy to $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed value, raising $1.6 billion over the next two years. Beginning in 2019, caps local school levies.
3. Repeals the sales tax exemption for bottled water and requires out-of-state internet sellers to collect and remit sales tax from Washington customers or, alternatively, report those sales to the Department of Revenue.
4. Creates or extends 13 tax breaks for businesses and gives all manufacturing businesses the same, low business and occupation tax rate of 0.2904 that Boeing gets.
5. Puts $1.8 billion more into public schools, $7.3 billion over four years.
6. Funds state employee union contracts at a cost of $618 million.
7. Saves $1.9 billion by suspending I-1351, a 2014 voter-approved class size measure.
8. Commits $60 million more for state psychiatric hospitals in order to remedy critical deficiencies and protect federal funding.
9. Creates a new Department of Children, Youth and Families by combining the Department of Early Learning and the Children's Administration, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services.
10. Leaves nearly $1 billion in reserves and is intended to remain balanced over four years.