OLYMPIA… Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, released this statement as the Legislature passed an important deadline for passage of bills from opposite chambers, and entered the final phase of the 2015 session:
“Today is Tax Day for thousands of Washington taxpayers. I think it’s fitting that to mark this day, the Senate continues to hold the line on adding expensive programs and projects to the state’s operating and capital budgets. I continue to say the glass is half full. We are doing everything to finish the people’s business on time. We have the resources to get the job done without raising taxes, despite last minute efforts this week to add $128 million to the capital budget.
“Earlier this month, we passed a bipartisan no-new-taxes budget that fully funds K-12 education and offers college students and their families the first tuition cut in at least a generation. This week we passed a bipartisan capital budget that focuses on building classrooms instead of expensive government office buildings. And we approved a landmark reconciliation bill to protect medical marijuana patients. I’m proud of our members who continue to work tirelessly to deliver solutions for the people of this state.
“The Senate operating and capital budgets represent a major shift in priorities and direct new spending toward education at a level not seen in 30 years. Back in 2013, we changed the rules by passing a four-year balanced budget amendment that prevents the gimmicks and shell games that have left the state with unsustainable spending. Now we can honestly say we’re living within our means.
“Our Senate majority made a promise to live within our means. State revenue is up by $3 billion. Families are experiencing the double squeeze of higher energy and college costs. We’re still in a fragile economic recovery with high unemployment in many parts of the state. Now is not the time to raise taxes on families and employers.
“We’re at the table and ready to negotiate a pro-education, no-new-taxes budget that allows us to finish this legislative session on time.”