NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

All systems go! Legislature *finally* sends capital budget to Governor Inslee’s desk

We have a capital budget!

After many months and weeks of Four Corner negotiations, the Washington State Legislature has voted almost unanimously to authorize billions of dollars’ worth of important, necessary projects that will strengthen our communities.

“It is good news for Washingtonians that the Legislature passed the long-overdue construction budget,” said a happy Governor Jay Inslee. “This allows us to restart hundreds of stalled projects at schools and mental health facilities and build more affordable housing — as well as put thousands of Washingtonians to work.”

“The Legislature also approved a Hirst fix,” the Governor noted. “I appreciate that the complexity of this issue required several months of negotiations by many legislators. While far from perfect, this bill helps protect water resources while providing water for families in rural Washington. It includes significant funding for habitat protection and restoration and other improvements that will be guided by local stakeholders and tribes according to the needs of each basin.”

“Despite this positive step, pressures on stream flows and salmon will continue to mount in the face of climate change and growing demand for water. We must build upon this effort to meet those challenges far into the future and continue to work collaboratively to protect this valuable resource.”

“It is, however, extremely unfortunate and, frankly, irresponsible, that for nearly a year Republicans stalled those projects and refused to vote on the $4.2 billion capital budget by linking it to passage of an unrelated effort to address the Supreme Court’s Hirst ruling on water rights. Their delay in passing the capital budget comes with many costs, monetary and otherwise.

“After our review of the capital budget, I will sign both of these important pieces of legislation in short order,” the Governor’s statement concluded.

“The capital budget represents one of the greatest investments we can make in Washington and in Washingtonians,” said Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson.

“Thousands of family wage jobs, school construction, affordable housing, environmental improvements, mental health enhancements and investments will now finally be delivered to communities across our state.

“For far too long, the people and communities who desperately needed these investments were caught up in a game of brinksmanship and political ideology. There are no winners when the needs of real people are used as leverage.

“I’m proud of our new majority and the quick manner in which we acted to get this critical legislation agreed to and passed,” Nelson added.

“This is the right way to do business. Let’s work together, negotiate through our differences and truly put people first in all the work we do.”

The House vote on the capital budget was ninety-five to one. The vote in the Senate was unanimous. Here is the roll call for the House:

Roll Call
SSB 6090
Capital budget 2017-2019
Final Passage

Yeas: 95; Nays: 1; Excused: 2

Voting Yea: Representatives Appleton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Buys, Caldier, Chandler, Chapman, Clibborn, Cody, Condotta, DeBolt, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Dye, Eslick, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Goodman, Graves, Gregerson, Griffey, Haler, Hansen, Hargrove, Harmsworth, Harris, Hayes, Holy, Hudgins, Irwin, Jenkin, Jinkins, Johnson, Kagi, Kilduff, Kirby, Klippert, Kloba, Kraft, Kretz, Kristiansen, Lovick, MacEwen, Macri, Manweller, Maycumber, McBride, McCabe, McCaslin, McDonald, Morris, Muri, Nealey, Orcutt, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pellicciotti, Peterson, Pettigrew, Pike, Pollet, Reeves, Riccelli, Robinson, Rodne, Ryu, Santos, Sawyer, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Shea, Slatter, Smith, Springer, Stambaugh, Stanford, Steele, Stokesbary, Stonier, Sullivan, Tarleton, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Werven, Vick, Volz, Walsh, Wilcox, Wylie, Young, Speaker Chopp

Voting Nay: Representative Taylor

Excused: Representatives Fey, Lytton

Representative David Taylor was the sole vote against the capital budget. As mentioned, the Senate vote was unanimous, so the roll call only has one category.

Roll Call
SSB 6090
Capital budget 2017-2019
3rd Reading & Final Passage

Yeas: 49

Voting Yea: Senators Angel, Bailey, Baumgartner, Becker, Billig, Braun, Brown, Carlyle, Chase, Cleveland, Conway, Darneille, Dhingra, Ericksen, Fain, Fortunato, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hawkins, Hobbs, Honeyford, Hunt, Keiser, King, Kuderer, Liias, McCoy, Miloscia, Mullet, Nelson, O`Ban, Padden, Palumbo, Pedersen, Ranker, Rivers, Rolfes, Saldaña, Schoesler, Sheldon, Short, Takko, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Walsh, Warnick, Wellman, Wilson, Zeiger

To implement the capital budget, the Legislature also passed E2SHB 1080, concerning state general obligation bonds and related accounts.

Republican Matt Manweller joined Representative Taylor in voting nay in the House, while Republican Senators Mike Padden and Jim Honeyford voted nay in the Senate.

Passage of the capital budget takes care of a major 2018 session objective that many organizations declared to be of paramount important to them, including the Washington State Democratic Party, which listed the capital budget at the very top of its first-ever Legislative Priorities Agenda.

NPI congratulates the Legislature for getting the capital budget unstuck and sent to Governor Inslee’s desk. The aforementioned bill to implement the capital budget required a three-fifths vote because it authorizes the issuance of bonds, meaning Democratic leaders had to work with Republicans to reach an agreement.

It’s truly refreshing to see gridlock get overcome at the state level, even as it continues to paralyze Congress. Republicans are in full control of the federal government, but they cannot govern. Democrats, meanwhile, have full control of the statehouse here in Washington, and are getting results.

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