After a positive revenue forecast, Senate budget writers released a supplemental 2014 budget proposal Monday that makes about $96 million in adjustments to the 2013-15 biennium budget.
Changes include an additional $40 million for K-12 school technology, $5 million for the Real Hope Act, $5.6 million in mental health and $5 million in new prison space. It also includes $2.1 million to start a medical marijuana patient registry and issue authorization cards, according to budget documents.
Senate Ways & Means chairman Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) said that while earlier in the session, some in the Senate had believed that a supplemental budget would not be necessary, the positive revenue forecast changed that point of view. He also added the budget mainly represents adjustments.
“It’s not a second bite at the apple,” Hill said.
He said adjustments were possible through a new $60 million in the revenue forecast, along with savings from having fewer people requiring long-term care or temporary financial assistance and fewer students enrolling in K-12 schools.
Sen. Jim Hargrove (D-Hoquiam) said he believed the budget preserved many of the Senate Democrats’ priorities.
“My caucus certainly agrees with K-12 as a priority, money for higher ed, but I want to make sure everyone understood we did this without cutting the social safety net,” Hargrove said.
The budget did not include teacher cost-of-living pay raises, closing certain tax loopholes and other changes that Gov. Jay Inslee had proposed earlier this year as a way to address the school spending ordered by the Washington Supreme Court as part of the McCleary lawsuit.
Inslee, in a prepared statement, urged additional education funding in the House’s supplemental budget.
“The proposal acknowledges the pressing need to address our constitutional obligation to basic education. While the Senate proposal does not go far enough in that regard, it’s a start. I urge the House to make a more substantial investment in education — one that does more to provide our students with the classroom tools they need and restores cost-of-living raises for our teachers,” he said.
House budget writers are also expected to release a supplemental budget proposal this week. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan released a statement Monday saying he looks forward to “presenting our own proposal and sitting down with the Senate to resolve our differences.”
The 2014 Senate supplemental budget is available online from the state’s fiscal.wa.gov website.
The Senate’s proposed supplemental budget will be heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Hill said he expects it to come up for a floor vote in the Senate this week.