AWB Statement on the 2016 Legislative Session
OLYMPIA — Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, issued the following statement on the conclusion of the 2016 legislative session:
"Once again, it took longer than it should have, but lawmakers managed to find the middle ground on a supplemental budget that takes care of pressing needs without spending irresponsibly.
"This budget provides necessary funding for last summer’s devastating wildfire season and increases spending on the state’s mental health system, but it does so without raising taxes or draining the rainy day fund just as we’re beginning to see signs of a slowing economy.
"We are particularly pleased that lawmakers preserved the four-year balanced budget requirement. It’s a tool that has brought needed discipline to the budgeting process since lawmakers passed it in 2012, but one that came into question this year by some legislators who wanted to abandon it. That would have been a mistake. Requiring a four-year outlook has helped move the state away from the roller-coaster ride of surplus to deficit that had become routine.
"We are also pleased that legislators continued funding for reduced college tuition and approved legislation preserving public charter schools for the 1,200 students currently enrolled in them. We join with lawmakers from both parties in calling on Gov. Jay Inslee to sign Senate Bill 6194 into law.
“We know that major challenges await lawmakers in the 2017 session as they attempt to meet the remaining requirements of the McCleary school funding decision. We look forward to working with them on this and other challenges. Working together, we can find solutions that promote a healthy economy and create opportunity for all Washingtonians."
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes nearly 8,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.