Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has completed one of her last tasks before leaving office in January. The Democrat Tuesday proposed a $34 billion budget for the next two years. It includes a combination of cuts, pay increases for state employees and proposed taxes for education. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details.
By law, the outgoing governor must propose a budget. But the new governor and the legislature are in no way obligated to adopt it, much less use it as a roadmap. With that reality check in mind, Gregoire says her budget would avoid painful cuts and close a $900 million shortfall. It also includes a $1 billion down payment on the recent Supreme Court decision that said Washington isn’t adequately funding K-12 schools. Something Gregoire says can’t be done without taxes.
Gregoire: “We need revenue if we are going to meet our constitutional and moral responsibility to fund education.”
Republican budget writers immediately pounced. State Representative Gary Alexander said he “firmly” believes the state can fund education, public safety and protect the most vulnerable without new taxes. Governor-elect Jay Inslee, a Democrat, did not comment on Gregoire’s tax proposals, but thanked her for what he called a “thoughtful effort.”
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio