State House Democrats' budget plan would delay funding for K-12 schools

PoliticsDemocratic PartyBudgets and BudgetingRepublican PartyChristine GregoireRoss Hunter

State House Democrats unveiled their $30.7 billion supplemental spending proposal that aims to fix the state's budget shortfall, primarily by delaying funding for K-12 public schools.

The delay in education funding into the 2013-15 biennium would account for $400 million of the $900 million in savings the Democrats say they will achieve with their proposal.

The plan would also cut nearly $82 million in local government aid for criminal justice and courts funding. And it would cut the Department of Corrections spending, reducing community supervision of released offenders and for chemical dependency programs.

The plan would also cut more than 1,500 state government jobs, and reduce the amount of employee allocation spending for health care and other insurance benefits.

It would also get $18 million from ending a mortgage-interest tax break that benefits large out-of-state banks. 

The Democrats said their plan will save nearly $900 million without having to raise the state sales tax by a half-cent, which Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ross Hunter, D-Medina, said, "These are the big changes in the budget.  In the state revenue picture, we can no longer afford many things."

House Republicans countered, however, that delaying funding to education doesn't solve the budget crisis, it simply delays it.

The state Senate Democrats will likely unveil their budget proposal next week.  The 60-day legislative session is set to end March 8.

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