Gov. Gregoire presents 2010 supplemental budget
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — January 12, 2010
OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire today unveiled her 2010 supplemental budget, which restores millions of dollars in services and closes tax loopholes.
“This is a budget I believe better reflects Washington values and principles,” Gregoire said. “This budget better funds our public schools and the safety net for our most needy, and helps set the stage for rebuilding our economic future.”
Last month, as required by law, Gregoire submitted a balanced budget with no new revenues, representing $2.6 billion in cuts to services critical to citizens such as public education and health care.
In testimony before the Senate Ways & Means committee today, Gregoire presented a new spending plan that would restore $779 million in services cut from her original December proposal. These restorations include:
- Levy equalization, which provides extra support to school districts with a lower than average property tax base ($165 million);
- State Basic Health Plan, which provides health care coverage to nearly 65,000 low- income people ($160.5 million);
- State Need Grant program, where grant amounts for qualified students are funded and eligibility is restored for 12,300 college students ($146.4 million);
- A re-designed General Assistance - Unemployable program, which provides grant support for an average of 23,000 adults and medical services to nearly 7,200 adults ($84.5 million);
- All-day kindergarten, gifted student programs and Reading Corps ($42 million); and
- Subsidized child care for TANF — or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families — recipients and low-income families ($39.5 million).
Gregoire also proposed policies to introduce greater tax fairness by closing loopholes that have either outlived their usefulness or are no longer equitable in today’s tough economy. Gregoire’s proposal includes addressing several court cases that have expanded the scope of tax preferences beyond their original intent, eliminating policies that unfairly benefit out-of-state businesses and closing ineffective tax exemptions totaling $258 million in revenue this biennium.
In addition to plans to improve tax fairness, Gregoire said that additional resources from the federal government could be expected, although exact amounts are not yet known. Gregoire also pledged to work with lawmakers to secure additional revenue, if needed.