Today the Senate passed a budget that keeps our promise of making substantial investments in education without raising taxes. This is a good budget for Whatcom County. There are portions of this budget that we will continue to work on but now the debate is about how we spend, not how much we spend.
The fact is our state will be taking in more in taxes than any time in history. We can – and should – adopt a budget that balances without relying on tax increases. The Senate budget stands in stark contrast to the proposal the governor put forward that relied on $1.2 billion in new taxes. And unlike the governor’s proposal which increases non-education spending by over seven percent, we hold it to under two percent.
One area of the budget I will work to move forward is the emphasis on reforming the state’s toxic cleanup program and cleaning hazardous waste sites. By doing that we’ll create short-term construction jobs and foster long-term economic growth by revitalizing toxic areas like the Georgia Pacific site in Bellingham. This could well be the most impactful job-creating legislation that will come out of Olympia this year.