Monthly Archives: March 2017

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    Ranker: Senate capital budget invests an historic amount in education and community programs

Ranker: Senate capital budget invests an historic amount in education and community programs

March 30th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released this statement following the passage of the Senate capital budget today:

“Today the Senate passed a bipartisan capital budget that invests an historic amount in improving our schools for the 1.1 million schoolchildren in Washington. With nearly $1.1 billion invested in the K-12 system to build new schools and new classrooms around the state, we have made a major investment in our children’s future.

“Additionally, critical community and recreation programs in North Puget Sound were funded, including the science building and labs at Western Washington University, the new Skagit Valley Family YMCA, the Lopez Island Pool, Moran Summit Learning Center and several other wildlife and recreation areas around the islands and coastlines of North Puget Sound.

“However, the Senate capital budget missed an opportunity to create the Harriet Spanel Forest in what is now known as Blanchard Mountain. This $7.7 million investment would finish the project to permanently protect an incredible outdoor recreation area as an economic driver for Skagit and Whatcom Counties and purchase better forestland to fund our children’s schools.

“The capital budget does include other important investments in the environment — $60 million for stormwater improvements, $30 million for the Clean Energy Fund, and $80 million for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program around the state.

“I am pleased to work across the aisle with my Republican colleagues to protect the environment, fund school construction and important infrastructure and facilities for people in our communities. I will fight for funding Blanchard Mountain for the communities in Skagit and Whatcom that have worked hard to see this fully funded before we leave Olympia.”

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    Ranker: Republican budget balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable

Ranker: Republican budget balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable

March 23rd, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, lead Senate Democrat on budget negotiations, issued the following statement following passage of the Senate Republican’s operating budget proposal:

“After a marathon 18 hours of debate in a 36 hour period, Republicans passed a budget today that falls short of our values in Washington state despite Democrats’ best efforts to improve it.

“The Republican plan passed tonight is a property tax plan impersonating a K12 education plan for our 1.1 million schoolchildren. This plan makes our unfair system worse, picking winners and losers from our communities. 71 school districts stand to lose $30.4 million, including Tacoma, Everett, Blaine, Concrete, and Ritzville.

“And other communities will see their local property tax increase including San Juan Island, Seattle, Mukilteo among many others.

“We need to fully fund our children’s future, but we cannot balance it on the backs of our most vulnerable. The Republican budget is balanced by a $274 million cut to programs for our poorest, single moms and homeless. It is an $80 million cut to our mental health programs. And late last night in Ways & Means Committee, an amendment took a $1.7 million cut to family planning programs such as Planned Parenthood.

“I believe we can do better than this, and we must. This is the time to care. This is the time, as elected officials, to make people’s lives better, to make our communities better, and to ensure all of the citizens of this great state have the opportunity for a better life. I look forward to negotiate a final budget that will reflect the values of our state, caring for the most vulnerable and fully funding an exceptional education system.”

Ranker: Republican budget falls short of Washington values

March 21st, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, issued the following statement today responding to the Senate Republican’s 2017 operating budget proposal:

“Our values compel us to prioritize the critical funding for our state, a fully funded education for every child, to provide services for children, the impoverished, and disabled, to manage emergencies and maintain public safety, to protect our environment, and support economic opportunity for all Washingtonians. While I appreciate the Republican investment in mental health services and K12 education, there are many areas where we do not agree.

“The Republicans have released a budget proposal which does not meet the values and priorities of our state. Their budget impacts our poorest children, struggling families, and the elderly, and dramatically reduces funds for blind and deaf children.

“Republicans recognize the need for revenue to pay for an historic enhancement of our children’s school system. Unfortunately, the Republican plan has major winners and losers across our state to raise $5.6 billion over four years. Some counties will see a major increase and others will not perpetuating our unfair tax system with many seeing property tax increases over 30 percent.

“Alarmingly, the budget cuts funds from programs for needy children and families struggling to succeed in a state with a widening income gap. Reductions and repeal of human services will push struggling families further into poverty and increasing the burden on our struggling communities.

“Public servants lose retirement funds, hard-earned income and savings from people who maintain public safety, care for our elderly and sick and provide the critical services in our communities.

“I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to negotiate for the final budget, I will fight for the values of our state and address these urgent, critical needs.”

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    Ranker: Levy extension prevents our children’s schools from largest education cut in state history

Ranker: Levy extension prevents our children’s schools from largest education cut in state history

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the following statement on today’s passage of the levy cliff extension:

“I am relieved that the Senate took action to prevent our children’s schools from an immediate loss of nearly $400 million in short term funding by passing a bill that would extend the so-called levy cliff — the expiration of school levies that would result in slashed budgets in districts across the state. This has taken a massive amount of work — and it is worth it!

“With passage of this bill, teachers and administrators can do what they do best — educate our children.
And now, the Legislature can get back to working on long-term education funding solutions.

“As the lead Senate Democrat on the budget, I will negotiate a budget to fully and fairly fund our children’s schools across the state. I am hopeful we can now come together to develop a solution that benefits all of Washington’s 1.1 million public school children into the future.“