December 15, 2014
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Inslee to propose budget, $1 billion in tax increases



The governor will spend much of this week revealing his two-year budget plan, one that will reportedly raise taxes by more than $1 billion.

Inslee will begin his budget rollout this evening with a statewide town hall meeting on his K-12 and higher education plan that will be live-broadcast on Skype to groups in four locations.

The state expects to collect nearly $3 billion more in new tax revenues over the next two years but still faces a potential shortfall of more than $4 billion if lawmakers expect to increase school funding to satisfy the demands of the McCleary court decision and also increase spending elsewhere, including mental health care and public employee salaries.



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CAN WE AFFORD IT?

Budget 101: State employee pay raises 'financially feasible'?

By Rob McKenna, Smarter Government Washington

Under state law, any collectively bargained pay raises and benefit increases for state employees must be declared "financially feasible for the state" by the Office of Financial Management (OFM). While this review sounds like a good idea, it isn't useful if OFM chooses to willfully ignore reality so that it can give its stamp of approval.

That's the situation the state currently finds itself in. The Governor's Office negotiated pay and benefit hikes with state employee unions, and OFM has declared the new costs to be financially feasible "considering the state's obligations...in combination with the current and forecasted economic and revenue conditions for Washington.

Apparently OFM considers the McCleary education funding case to be mere detail...

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary at Smarter Government Washington
WHAT WORKS

State can move forward on transportation -- by looking back

By Sen. Curtis King

Amid all the finger-pointing and half-truths regarding the Legislature's alleged failure to pass and fund a transportation plan, a glance back at the 2003 "nickel package" provides the best tutorial on how to successfully get a transportation-revenue package through the Legislature and to the governor's desk. The themes from over a decade ago run startlingly parallel to today.

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary in Crosscut
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