Legislature approves state operating budget; Chandler calls it a ‘roadmap to the future’

Legislator: Rep. Bruce Chandler
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With only a day remaining before a new fiscal cycle for state government takes effect, lawmakers in Olympia approved a 38 billion-dollar state operating budget Monday evening, and sent it to the governor. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

Sattgast: It took nearly six months, three special sessions, many various budget proposals, and a lot of frustration. But in the end, lawmakers came together on a two-year state operating budget that gained strong bipartisan approval Monday in both the House and Senate.

Representative Bruce Chandler of Granger is the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee who was instrumental in the negotiations of the final agreement.

Chandler: “With all of the forces working toward the opposite, I believe that in the end, that this is a budget that more than others I've seen in the past, really provides something to protect and to serve every part of the state. This truly is a statewide roadmap to the future.”

Sattgast: The spending plan invests about one-point-three billion dollars in K-through-12 education. It provides cost-of-living raises for teachers and state employees, decreases tuition rates, and makes further investments in the state's mental health system.

While some smaller tax preferences were eliminated, Republicans claimed victory for stopping major tax increase proposals, such as a carbon tax and a capital gains tax Democrats eventually dropped.

Unfinished business at the Capitol includes a final vote on a transportation revenue package in the House and a capital construction budget. Lawmakers expect to finish all their business before midnight tonight.

John Sattgast, Olympia.


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