Washington state budget | KUOW News and Information

Washington state budget

It was the legislative equivalent of a buzzer beater. Just as the Washington legislature was about to adjourn last month, the House and Senate quickly passed a series of tax breaks mostly for businesses. They included exemptions for dance clubs, mint growers, dairy products and this one: digital data used by international investment firms.

That last one will largely benefit a single global firm – Seattle-based Russell Investments. This tax break passed despite efforts to close these kinds of loopholes.

Washington’s $100 Million Land Purchase In Upper Kittitas County

Jul 2, 2013
Flickr Photo/Jay Inslee

Yesterday, Governor Inslee put the final stamp of approval on one of the biggest land purchases Washington state has ever seen. The state budget includes $100 million for 50,000 acres in Upper Kittitas County, at the headwater of the Yakima River Basin. Officials say protecting this land will be a big step towards securing water supplies in the region. Ross Reynolds talks with columnist Joel Connelly about the significance of this land purchase.

Transportation Package Fails To Pass

Jul 1, 2013

  The Washington state legislature failed to pass a transportation package this past weekend. With the recent collapse of the Skagit Bridge at the forefront of our minds, we take a look at what this means for current and future transportation projects in the state. Ross Reynolds hears from Dan O'Neal, the chairman of the Washington State Transportation Committee.

This Week In Olympia With Austin Jenkins

Jun 28, 2013
Flickr Photo/Harvey Barrison

  The Washington state legislature finally came to a budget proposal this week, narrowly avoiding a massive government shutdown. What held them up? How will the new budget cover the increases in education spending mandated by the state supreme court? Ross Reynolds talks about that and other state news with KUOW’s Olympia correspondent, Austin Jenkins.

Weekday's “News in Review” roundtable comes together to talk over the week’s news.

It was a big week at the Supreme Court. The justices struck down provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and decided the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. A filibuster by Wendy Davis rocked the Texas legislature, stopping a vote on an abortion bill. The bill will be revisited in the second special session Gov. Rick Perry called.

Washington's own legislature's second session budget problems still divide the floor; but issues will need to be resolved soon to avoid a government shut down on July 1.

What stories caught your attention? What hasn’t been covered enough? What story made your blood boil? Share your thoughts with the panel right now by emailing Weekday.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says a budget deal in Olympia is “imminent” – even as state workers start to receive layoff notices. At a news conference Monday afternoon, the Democrat reported significant breakthroughs in budget negotiations.

A shutdown of state government is now one week away. That’s why temporary layoff notices are going out to state employees. That’s a requirement of labor contracts. Governor Inslee says he feels “enormous frustration” there wasn’t a budget deal in time to avert the notices.

William Sitwell's book"A History of Food in 100 Recipes."

 This Week In Olympia
Lawmakers have until July 1 to reach a budget agreement or the government will shut down. Everett Herald reporter Jerry Cornfield joins us with a look at what’s happening in Olympia this week in special legislative session number two.

The History Of Food
We eat every single day, but  we rarely pause to consider why we eat the food we do. How did food evolve throughout history? Where did pasta come from for instance? Who baked the first cupcake? When did humans start recording recipes in cookbooks? William Sitwell has written "A History of Food in 100 Recipes."

Computer Science And Social Justice
Computer science technologies play a powerful role in service of the military and industry, but don’t seem to be widely used by visionaries in the fields of social justice and sustainability. Ideas like complexity theory and nanotechnology seem to have a distant connection to making an impact on social change. Mathematician Dr. Ron Eglash believes in the power of computing for social justice and sustainability. He explored the state of technology today and how it can impact future social change in his work as co-editor of recent book “Appropriating Technology.”

  It’s Friday—time to talk over the week’s news. The president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild Rich O’Neill has said he’ll accept the DOJ reforms and urges the members of the police union to do the same. The state is preparing for a shutdown if a deal is not made on the budget. Airbus expresses its interest in Washington state, as Boeing’s 787 faces more trouble in the air. Our regular panel is in to discuss the news of the week. What news piqued your interest this week? Share your thoughts by email.

Protracted budget talks in Olympia could see a breakthrough after Tuesday’s release of an updated revenue forecast. That’s the quarterly report that projects how much money will flow into state tax coffers in the coming months.

Lawmakers are expecting some positive news. A couple of hundred of million dollars to the positive could prove a game-changer in the weeks long budget stalemate.

Washington House Democrats have abandoned some proposed tax increases, but not others, in what they call a “significant compromise” budget offer to the Senate. The public unveiling Wednesday of a slimmed down House spending plan comes as the clock is running out on the current overtime session with still no budget deal.

There’s one week left in Washington’s special legislative session and still no budget deal. Governor Jay Inslee and the Senate majority caucus held dueling news conferences Tuesday complete with plenty of finger-pointing.

The governor went first. Inslee, a Democrat, blasted the mostly Republican Senate majority for an estate tax measure that passed out of committee late last week. Inslee called it a new tax break for more than 200 wealthy Washingtonians at the expense of public schools.

Washington’s 30-day overtime session of the legislature ends a week from Tuesday. So far there’s no sign of a budget deal between the mostly Republican-led Senate and the Democratic House. Governor Jay Inslee is urging the two sides to pick up the pace.

House and Senate negotiators continue to meet in Olympia. But finding agreement on the next two-year budget and the policy measures to implement it remains elusive.

  The Washington legislature reconvenes Monday for a 30-day special session. But there’s still no budget deal in sight – despite a two week break to negotiate.

Senate budget chair Andy Hill, a Republican, says both sides are “working in good faith.” But “true negotiations” have yet to begin. That’s because the House, Senate and governor are still working to agree on the basic assumptions for the next two year budget.

The Washington legislature has adjourned after a 105-day session. The final gavels fell just after 6 p.m. Sunday night.

“The 2013 regular session of the 63rd legislature is adjourned Sine Die," declared Lt. Gov. Brad Owen to applause.

But the adjournment won’t last long. Governor Jay Inslee immediately called a special session for two weeks from now because the House and Senate failed to come to agreement on a two-year budget. 

Governor Jay Inslee is like the gambler. He says it would take an “inside straight” for the legislature to complete its work by Sunday’s deadline. 

Happy Birthday State Parks! Let's Hope This Budget Doesn't Kill You

Apr 15, 2013
Flickr Photo/Flickstorage

It’s the 100th birthday of Washington's state park system, but it may not be a happy one. Washington’s parks started off this year with zero dollars from the state. While both the Senate and House budget proposals give more than $15 million to our state parks, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission says under the Senate’s budget the doors to some state parks will likely close.

This Week In Olympia With Austin Jenkins

Apr 12, 2013
Washington State Capitol
Flickr Photo/Alan Cordova (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Three budgets walk into a news cycle, but only one budget will leave. Ross Reynolds talks with Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins about the latest from our lawmakers in Olympia. 

Would A Budget By Any Other Name Not Smell As Sweet?

Apr 11, 2013
Flickr Photo/401(K) 2013

Governor Inslee released his budget proposal a couple weeks ago, and then came the Washington Senate budget. Yesterday the House released their budget and today Ross Reynolds talks with Representative Ross Hunter about how the House budget differs from the Senate and gubernatorial budget plans. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington House Democrats have unveiled a proposed two-year budget that looks a lot like Governor Jay Inslee’s. It would renew expiring tax hikes, close several tax exemptions and put the new money into public schools.

House Democrats would actually spend a tad more than the governor. But their approach is very similar. For example: extend an expiring tax on beer and end the sales tax exemption for bottled water and shoppers from sales tax free Oregon.

OLYMPIA, Wash - Oregon shoppers in Washington would pay sales tax and bottled water would be taxed under a proposal from Governor Jay Inslee to raise $1.2B in additional money for public schools.

Inslee, a Democrat, proposed Thursday to end or modify a dozen tax exemptions, extend two expiring tax hikes, and cut back by 25-percent a favorable tax rate that many businesses enjoy.

NPR's Ira Flatow: Science Is Sexy

Mar 20, 2013
Ira Flatow
Courtesy Ira Flatow

Is science sexy? Public radio and TV journalist Ira Flatow thinks so. Every week, he turns scientific discoveries into conversation pieces on his radio program Science Friday. In his talk “Science is Sexy,” he argues that museums, zoos, TV shows and films have overtaken formal education as the main ways people learn about science. Whether it’s the Mars rover or the Large Hadron Collider, scientific research is a hot commodity. Is popular science good for science as a whole?

Your Take On The News

Mar 15, 2013

It's Friday — time to review the week's top news stories with Knute Berger, Eli Sanders and C.R. Douglas. A federal judge approved a first-year plan to reform the Seattle Police Department. Meanwhile, the plan was challenged in court by the Seattle Police Officer's Guild and the Seattle Police Management Association, over concerns about collective bargaining rights.

Also, a bill that would expand background checks for gun owners died in the state House. And the state's budget shortfall grew by $300 million. What stories were you following this week? Call us at 800.289.5869 or write to weekday@kuow.org.

The Northwest's public universities pull in massive amounts of federal research dollars. It totaled $1 billion last year at the University of Washington. Oregon State University won close to $200 million in federal research funds. The University of Idaho is counting on $100 million this year. So it's no surprise that university administrators are hanging on every scrap of news about imminent automatic federal budget cuts.

House Democrats Want To Rev Up The Gas Tax

Feb 22, 2013

House Democrats are proposing to raise the gas tax by 10 cents, to 47.5 cents a gallon, within five years, to pay for a $10 billion transportation package. The plan was introduced earlier this week by State Representative Judy Clibborn, D-Mercer Island, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. 

Ross Reynolds talks to Clibborn and  Sen. Tim Sheldon, a Democrat representing the 35th District, which includes all of Mason County and parts of Thurston, Kitsap and Grays Harbor counties.  He’s one of two Senate Democrats to join with Republicans to form a majority coalition this legislative session.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – We’re starting to see real world fallout from some of the state budget cuts made in last few years. One of the clearest examples in Washington is juvenile parole. It turns out that the chief suspect in a recent high profile bar shooting had committed a previous murder – but did not qualify for intensive parole supervision because of cutbacks. One study finds juveniles who don’t receive parole are far more likely to be re-arrested within nine months of their release.

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