Rep. Cary Condotta releases statement on passage of budget agreement, education funding


State Rep. Cary Condotta

 

Just hours before the end of the state’s fiscal cycle Friday, the Washington House of Representatives passed a two-year state operating budget of $43.7 billion. Senate Bill 5883 was approved by a vote of 70-25.

In addition to the budget, lawmakers took action on an education funding bill that would pump an additional $7.3 billion into K-12 education over the next four years. House Bill 2242, which passed 67-26, is primarily funded through an 80-cent increase per $1,000 of assessed valuation in the state property tax. School districts may also enact an “enrichment levy” of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

A third measure, House Bill 2163, would enact several tax increases, including sales tax on bottled water and self-produced refinery fuels, and collection of sales tax on Internet sales. That measure passed the House, 53-40.

Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee, voted against all three measures and provided the following statement:

“I give credit to our negotiators for the education policy in the new operating budget. However, this new budget increases spending by $5.2 billion — a 27 percent increase over four years — and that’s just too much. I question the sustainability of such a large increase in the budget.

“It also enacts a substantial increase in taxes. I’m very concerned many people and small businesses across the 12th District will be paying higher property taxes under this plan. We already had $3 billion of additional revenue coming in to the state without tax increases. This adds another $2.2 billion in tax increases. Plus, it sweeps several important dedicated resources, such as the state’s Public Works Assistance Account, which makes loans to local municipalities for important water and sewer infrastructure.

“Some are also taking a victory lap for reducing the business and occupation tax on manufacturing, bringing the rate down to the same as Boeing pays. While that is a good thing, the reduction is less than $60 million, versus $5 billion in new spending. We could have done better by giving all businesses the same rate as Boeing, which would have helped balance the spending.

“While there are positives, especially in the policy of education, there are just too many negatives that would hurt small businesses and people across our district. And that’s why I could not support this package of bills.”

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