OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate on Wednesday announced a 2015-17 bipartisan Capital Budget proposal. (TRT: 60) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson issued the statement below following the conclusion of budget amendments Friday morning:
“Tonight Democrats proposed numerous amendments, and saw one after another struck down.
“Why? That’s a good question. Other than voting ‘no,’ Senate Republicans said virtually nothing through hours and hours of debate.
“Republicans did take one action Thursday. They made a cynical rule change requiring a super majority to pass amendments. This provided them political cover and misinformed the public about the true values of those who are supposed to represent them.
“So a budget that was already in danger of collapsing under the weight of its own gimmicks and fund shifts is now also built upon beliefs crafted for the sake of political gain, not responsible solutions for the people of Washington.”
The amendment to the state budget that would have ratified collective bargaining agreements for state employees failed by one vote due to a rule requiring 30 votes to pass an amendment to the budget. (TRT: 1:14) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 19) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “In 2001 we had 6 million people in the state and we had 64,000 government employees. Today we have 7 million people in the state and we have 61,000 government employees. We have had a large increase in our population and our government employees have gone down. They are doing more with less.”
Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam sponsored a critical amendment to the state’s operating budget that would have ratified collective bargaining agreements for 60,000 state employees. The wage increase agreements would have represented the employees’ first general wage increase since 2008.
Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam: (TRT: 19) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “I think it’s very important that we ratify these collective bargaining agreements that deal not only with wages but deal with working conditions, their health benefits and other things also. Our state employees do a phenomenal job for us and they’re doing jobs that I think many of us wouldn’t want to do.”
Prior to voting on the amendment, Senate Republicans adopted a Senate rule that requires 60 percent of the vote in order to adopt an amendment to the state’s budget – the largest policy bill of the legislative session. The amendment received 59.2 percent of the vote but needed 60 percent to pass. The amendment failed 29-20.
Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia