Rep. Norma Smith issues statements on passage of capital budget and transportation revenue package
On June 30, the Washington State Legislature passed the $3.9 billion 2015-17 capital budget. Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, the assistant ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee, released the following statement:
“This is a strong budget that provides for the priorities and immediate needs of our state. From the beginning, House Republicans and Democrats worked on behalf of all Washingtonians to achieve bipartisan agreement in addressing key priorities within the existing bond capacity. I'm grateful we were able to come together in compromise to provide funding for much-needed infrastructure improvements and community projects.
“The 2015-17 capital budget provides funds for K-12 and higher education school construction, reduces K-3 class sizes, increases mental health bed capacity, prioritizes housing for veterans and other vulnerable individuals, offers mitigation for the current drought, funds fire hazard reduction efforts, and more. I've spent much of my life in negotiations over the past few months, and can truly say this budget is going to make a lasting impact for our communities and the state. I am thankful for the hard work of negotiators on both sides of the aisle in producing this excellent budget.”
The capital budget measure, House Bill 1115, passed the House, 96-2, and the Senate, 44-1.
Rep. Smith also issued the following statement on the passage of the $16 billion transportation revenue package:
“I am extremely disappointed by the vote we took earlier this morning on a transportation revenue package that will raise the gas tax on Washingtonians by an additional 11.9 cents. There are some good projects in the transportation package, but we should've allowed voters to decide if they wanted to have the second highest gas tax in the nation in order to fund them. The amendment to put that question to voters was defeated with a 52-46 vote before the transportation revenue package was passed 54-44.
“Washingtonians have said time and time again they do not want increased taxes unless by a two-thirds majority vote by the Legislature or a vote of the people. Passing one of the largest tax increases in state history in the dead of night while most folks were sleeping is simply wrong. Between the insufficient reforms, the increases in weight and registration fees, and the gas-tax hike, I was compelled to cast a 'no' vote. We should have done better for the seven million people in our state.”
The transportation revenue package, Senate Bill 5987, passed the House, 54-44, and the Senate, 37-7.
###Washington State House Republican Communications