Gov. Jay inslee showed us his. Thirty state senators showed us theirs.
This week, House Democrats will unveil their own version of the state's 2013-15 operating budget — somewhere in the neighborhood of $33 billion. That unveiling will be followed by one or two days of crowded public hearings, some minor tweaking and, most likely, an easy passage through the full House.
Expect some form of tax exemption closures, or new taxes or both in the House budget. Also likely are smaller slashes to social services than the Senate proposed, and more money to improve K-12 education (a necessary inclusion to honor the Washington Supreme Court's mandate for more spending on K-12).
Once all the budget cards are on the table, leaders of the Demcocratic-controlled House and Republican-oriented Senate will haggle for a long time behind closed doors in an effort to resolve their significant budget differences.
Democrats want new revenue from tax increases or from closing tax exemptions — or from somewhere. Republicans don't want to raise taxes or close exemptions. Republicans want to cut social services; Democrats don't. Republicans want to revamp workers compensation; Democrats don't. Democrats want the Reproductive Party Act passed; the majority of Republicans don't. Republicans and Democrats have different philosophies on how to improve K-12 education and different ideas on how to deal with rising college tuitions.
Social bills. Budget bills. Business bills. Other bills. All continue to be stockpiled as hostages to be horse traded in the talks that begin this week. Here are some facts and figures to keep in mind as the Democratic House releases its budget proposal:
- The state's 2011-2013 operating budget was $31.29 billion with a $426 million surplus.
- The Senate's 2013-2015 target budget is $33.21 billion in expenses and $33.25 billion in revenue with a $611 million surplus.
- Governor Inslee's target budget is $34.43 billion in expenses and $34.66 billion in revenue with a $531 million surplus.
- The amount allocated to meet the Supreme Court's education improvement requirements for 2013-2015 is $1 billion in the Senate budget and $1.26 billion in the Governor's.
- The tax exemptions closed: Inslee targeted 11 totaling $565 million; the Senate targeted none.
- Extensions of taxes about to expire: The Senate would extend a hospital safety net tax by six years, raising $238 million (for 2013-2015). Inslee wwould raise $661 million by keeping an otherwise-sunsetting beer tax and business and occupation service charge.
- Neither the Governor nor the Senate proposed any new taxes.