Washington Legislative Week in Review: Committees Hold Final Hearings as Budget Talks Continue

The Washington State Senate last week released its no-new-taxes budget, which included a significant increase in education spending. Their $33 billion budget proposal emphasizes spending efficiencies to help address the shortfall created by the Supreme Court’s education funding ruling.

The Senate proposal spends $1.1 billion less than what the governor proposed and constrains spending in almost all non-education categories. Spending on higher education is increased by $100 million.

A key difference between the Senate proposal and what the governor proposed is that Governor Inslee proposed $1.2 billion in additional tax revenue to be raised through closing tax exemptions and extending existing taxes. The Senate budget, by comparison, highlights $1.2 billion in “spending constraints and savings.”

House Democrats are expected to release their budget proposal this week.

With the end of the regular session just three weeks away, the Washington State Legislature will now move entirely to floor action, as committees not tied to implementing the budget have held their final hearings for the session.

Both the House Business & Financial Services Committee and the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee held their last regular-session hearings and did not hear any new legislation, instead meeting only in executive session to pass bills out of committee.

Senate Bill 5302 remains in the House Rules Committee, where it has been since March 19. The House Rules Committee is expected to begin meeting again this week, at which time SB 5302 is expected to be pulled to the House floor for a vote.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1870, which deals with credit card surcharging, received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee on April 3 and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. To address opposition to the bill, a severability clause was added so that if any part of the act is found to be in conflict with any current or future federal judicial decision, order, or statute, the conflicting part of this act is inoperative.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Advocacy News, Compliance, Compliance News.