Bipartisan Senate budget proposal preserves critical social safety net (TRT: 1:10 ) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

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The Washington State Senate on Monday unveiled a supplemental operating budget that contains a strong democratic imprint and will protect critical social safety net programs. Sen .Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam serves as the ranking democrat on the Senate Ways & Means Committee and was the lead democrat at the negotiating table.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 27) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “My caucus certainly agrees with K-12 as a priority, money for higher ed, but I wanted to make sure everybody understood – we did this without cutting the social safety net. That was one of the priorities for our caucus, that we not go back into cutting things for the underprivileged or people that are on the fringes in order to make that kind of investment. That was one of our priorities. The collective bargaining agreements were again a priority for us as we move forward in this and also adding some additional money into our mental health system.”

The $95.7 million proposed bipartisan budget offers funding for maintenance level changes to caseloads and makes needed investments in our state’s mental health system and technology in K-12 education. This proposal does not make any cuts to the underlying budget and will not be tied to reform packages,  as we saw last year. The Senate hopes to vote on the proposal later this week.

Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia.