WA House Passes Budget, Must Return To Senate
The Washington House of Representatives passed a record $70 billion state operating budget Monday night on a party-line vote, and Republicans expressed displeasure with the process
Assistant Minority Floor Leader Chris Corry of Yakima says his party was shut out of negotiations over the spending plan.
“I believe that the process could have been so much better and so much more effective had we sat down together and worked this out, like we do in any number of issues in this state,” said Corry. “There’s still more to come and I hope we can get there.”
Majority Leader Joe Fitzgibbon of West Seattle says the budget provides funding where it's needed.
“I see investments throughout that budget,” said Fitzgibbon. “Investments in a better state, investments that save taxpayers money, and more importantly, investments that help the people that we came here to serve, that we came here to represent.”
The debate over the budget lasted more than four hours in which there were 30 amendments offered.
Democrats rejected most Republican proposals, including one from Puyallup Representative Kelly Chambers to fund law enforcement retention and recruitment bonuses.
"At a time when we have record murder rates, record car thefts, and trained, qualified, experienced officers leaving our state in droves, we're not doing enough to retain those officers and attract new ones."
Democrat Kristine Reeves of Federal Way says the amendment would take money away from important needs such as student loans and public health resources.
"It pits these folks against each other Mr. Speaker," said Reeves. "And quite frankly, our budget shouldn't be about pitting people against one another, but about bringing folks together to make sure that all parts of our community are safe."
One Republican amendment which was adopted came from 7th District Representative Jacquelin Maycumber, who is also the Minority Floor Leader. She proposed to send $1.2 million in 2024 and 2025 to four counties for the purpose of expanding veteran service officer programs in rural areas.
Maycumber's amendment passed on a voice vote.
House and Senate budget leaders now must reconcile their differences into one state operating budget to be adopted before session ends April 23rd.