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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

House Democrats and Senate Republicans have now released their operating budget proposals, and while there are some similarities, there are a few glaring differences as well.

Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington speaks on the House floor in opposition to the House Democrats' operating budget proposalBoth budget proposals meet our McCleary obligations by investing heavily in K-12 education – more than $1 billion would be spent toward all-day kindergarten, smaller K-3 class sizes, and classroom materials, supplies and operating costs. Both would also enhance early learning programs and provide more funding for our troubled mental health system. Finally, the two budgets would provide teachers with cost of living increases, though the approaches are quite different.

The two major differences in the House and Senate proposals surround our higher education system and overall state spending. The House Democrats' proposal freezes tuition at four-year institutions, while the Senate Republicans' proposal lowers tuition by an average of 25 percent by the end of the biennium. This would be the first tuition cut since the 1970s, and would provide some much-needed relief to students and families who have been burdened by enormous debt.

In terms of state spending, the House plan would rely on $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes, which would mean an increase in state spending of $5.2 billion. That is a 15 percent increase over the last budget cycle at a time when state spending has nearly doubled over the last 15 years.

The Senate plan, on the other hand, would not raise taxes. To fund our obligations, it would take our current revenues and marijuana revenue, and close 12 tax exemptions. Overall, the Senate would spend $37.8 billion, while the House would spend $38.9 billion. The Senate Republicans' proposal shows our state can make K-12 education its number one priority, provide families with tuition relief, and protect our most vulnerable – without raising taxes. It offers us a better starting point as we head into negotiations. For more of my thoughts on the two budget proposals, watch the video update I recorded on Monday.

Here is a breakdown of both budget proposals:

House Democrats' proposal

  • $39 billion total spending
  • $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes
  • Freezes tuition for higher education
  • $1.4 billion for education spending to meet basic education requirements
  • Includes cost-of-living adjustments for state and school employees

Senate Republicans' proposal

  • $38 billion total spending
  • No new tax increases
  • Cuts tuition costs for higher education
  • $1.3 billion for education spending to meet basic education requirements
  • Includes cost-of-living adjustments for state and school employees

On the David Boze Show

I was recently on the David Boze Show to discuss the flu shot mandate for foster families who care for children under two years of age. We had a great conversation, and I want to thank David for having me on. To listen to the segment, click the image below.

Rep. Mark Hargrove on the David Boze Show.

Contacting me

As we head toward budget negotiations, I want to hear your priorities for the budget and for the state in general. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns. My email address is mark.hargrove@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7824.

It is an honor to serve you.

Sincerely,


Mark Hargrove

State Representative Mark Hargrove, 47th Legislative District
RepresentativeMarkHargrove.com
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
mark.hargrove@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7918 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000