Bipartisan supplemental budget proposal from state Senate adds $96 million, no tax hikes

Senate Ways and Means chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond, just concluded a press conference unveiling his proposed 2014 supplemental operating budget. To underscore the bipartisan nature of the process, he was joined by the Democrats’ lead budget writer Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam and other Republicans and Democrats involved in developing the proposal.

Although Hill had previously said a supplemental may not be necessary this year, he concluded that the revenue boost in the latest forecast justified some adds. The budget increases state spending by $96 million, an increase made possible with the increase in anticipated collections and by taking advantage of caseload savings. Just under half the new spending is associated with maintenance level changes.

Hill emphasized the supplemental budget does not represent a “second bite at the apple.”

The major policy increase, which Hill counts as further progress on meeting the McCleary obligation, is $38 million toward K-12 instructional technology, a priority of educators. In all, nearly 80 percent of the new supplemental targets K-12, higher education, and early learning.

The proposal also recommends extending high tech R&D incentives for 10 years, but in a scaled down version. The B&O credit would apply only to companies with less than $50 million in gross revenues; the sales tax exemption on construction would be limited to $1 million per project and one company project per year. The three-year cost of the skinny version is estimated to be $48 million. (We concluded here that the R&D credit is justified as currently applied.)

We’ll have policy briefs on the operating and capital budget proposals later this week. Here are links to the bill, overview, and statewide summary and agency detail.Here’s a link to the capital budget overview and project list.

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