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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Jim Hargrove

Senate budget plan ‘simply an update’

OLYMPIA – Public schools would get more money for math and science supplies and state colleges would keep tuition from going up in a proposal released by the Senate budget writers.

But there would be no major new expenses, no cost-of-living raises for teachers, no new taxes and no closing of tax loopholes under the supplemental budget with a net increase of $96 million to the $33.6 billion two-year spending plan approved last year.

“Last year we did the heavy lifting,” Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond, said. “This is just simply an update” . . . 

To read more about the Senate budget proposal, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

To get further details on the proposal, check out the documents below.


Documents:

Senate budget: More for schools, less for social programs

Sen. Andy Hill describes the budget proposal with Sen. Jim Hargrove waiting nearby in the State Reception Room.

OLYMPIA — Leaders of a Senate committee released a $32.5 billion operating budget that spends more on education, less on programs for the poor and doesn't raise taxes. They acknowledged they don't know if it has the support to pass that chamber, let alone become the actual spending plan for the next two years.

It differs significantly from recommendations from Gov. Jay Inslee last week, but meets four goals Senate budget writers set at the beginning of the year, Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond said: It doesn't hurt the economy by raising taxes; increases spending on education programs ranging from pre-kindergarten through graduate school; it preserves some services for “the most vulnerable” and it was crafted by members of both parties.

The budget adds about $1.5 billion to the state's public school system, with about $1 billion of that going to basic education costs. The state is under a Supreme Court order to meet the constitutional requirement to make education its top priority.

It adds about $300 million to the state's universities, colleges, community and technical colleges, and orders a 3 percent cut in tuition.

It relies on some $303 million in federal money for fully participating in Medicaid expansion from the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. It cuts money for such programs as Temporary Aid to Needy Families, childrens nutrition and aid to the disabled.

With the Senate divided 25-24 between a majority coalition made up of all 23 Republicans and two disaffected Democrats, and the remaining 24 Democrats, Hill emphasized the budget was drafted as “a true collaboration.”

But the ranking Democrat, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, said he was only sure of two votes for the budget, his and Hill's. Other Democrats may want to restore money to some social programs and look for tax increases or close tax loopholes to pay for it, he said.

“We'll have to wait to see the floor vote” to see if it has bipartisan support in the Senate.

In a prepared statement, Gov. Jay Inslee called the Senate budget proposal “deeply flawed,” and said it relied on “short-term fixes and budget tricks” while cutting social services to pay for schools.

A hearing on the Senate budget proposal was scheduled for about three hours after the spending plan was released. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to release it's own budget in the coming days.

Inslee signs his first bill

Jay Inslee prepares to sign SB 5147 with prime sponsors Sen. Jim Hargrove, left, and Rep. Tina Orwall, right.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee signed his first bill today, a new law that requires youth shelters to notify parents of the state welfare offices after three days.

He got a few tips on bill-signing protocol from Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, the sponsor of Senate Bill 5147, who said Inslee was the fifth governor to sign one of more than 300 bills that he's sponsored the became law. Hargrove got the pen by which the governor signed “Jay” and House sponsor Rep. Tina Orwall got the pen he used for “Inslee.”

The bill requires youth shelters and organizations designed to protect children to contact parents or the Department of Social and Health Services after 72 hours when they have a child that is known to be away from home without permission. They must report the child's whereabouts, physical and emotional condition and how the child came into contact with the shelter.

Starting in 1995, shelters were required to report a child's whereabouts within eight hours, but that was expanded to 72 hours in 2010 on a temporary basis, to give shelter staff more time to talk with the child and locate the parents. 

Hargrove: Coalition isn’t sharing power

Sen. Jim Hargrove shows charts that indicate where state government has reduced spending on some social programs.

OLYMPIA — Senate Democrats don't know yet whether they will accept an offer to lead six legislative committees in the coming session, Sen. Jim Hargrove said today.

The Hoquiam Democrat, who is the chamber's longest serving legislator, said they'll  meet next week to discuss their options. But Hargrove said the coalition of 23 Republican and two Democrats who formed a coalition majority with a plan to run the Senate is not really offering to share power by letting Democrats run six committees and be co-chairmen of three others.

“It's not a power-sharing offer. It's a structural offer,” Hargrove said.

Whether it results in more bipartisan cooperation isn't clear, he added. “Our expectation was that everything was going to have to be bipartisan.”

Part of that strategy for Democrats was appointing Hargrove, one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which is arguably the most powerful committee becaue it handles the budget. But that was last month, when it looked as though they had a 26-23 majority. After Democrats Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Tim Sheldon of Potlach decided to form a new majority with the 23 Republicans, that group named Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, to head that committee.

Democrats will meet next week to discuss possible reassignments.

“That's all up for discussion, but as of this point I think I'm the minority leader (of Ways and Means)” Hargrove said.

Regardless of who is in charge of the committee, it was almost certain to write a budget without a tax increase while looking for options to cut government spending, he said: “It's pretty clear that the public is not interested in any more taxes.” 

Senate Democrats coalescing on reforms

OLYMPIA — Senate Democratic leaders think they've narrowed a stack of possible reforms that some member wants to a smaller list they may be able to pass.

The reforms would save at least $50 million in this budget cycle, and as much as $300 million over the next three years as they slowly take hold in government. That's not enough to fill a projected gap of more than $1 billion in the state's General Fund budget over the next 18 months, Majority Leader Lisa Brown of Spokane said.

But without tangible reforms, voters are going to be “extremely skeptical” support any request for a tax increase, Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, said.

Some of the ideas are on lists offered by Republicans, such as streamlined permitting for businesses and restructuring state government to make it cheaper and more efficient., although it won't be possible to tell if the details are compatible until the bills are introduced.

Some have come close to passing in previous sessions, such as cracking down on Medicaid fraud and abuse, only to founder on disputes over details.

They expect to introduce reform bills in the next week or so. Budget hearings will also begin in the Ways and Means Committee, with the idea of having a budget “ready or almost ready” when the next state revenue forecast is released in mid February. Plans are to pass a budget by early March and not go into overtime with a special session.

“This does not get any easier by hanging around,” Brown said.

WA Lege Day 94: Gregoire signs m/c profiling bill

Gov. Chris Gregoire offers the signing pen to Sen. Jim Hargrove after putting her signature on a bill to ban “motorcycle profiling.

OLYMPIA — Law enforcement in Washington state won't be able to stop motorcyclists simply because they are motorcyclists under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Law enforcement insists they don't do that, anyway, but motorcycle groups such as ABATE — for A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments — have contended for years that it happens all the time.

After several tries, the Legislature passed a bill to make clear that profiling is not permissable and to require some training to make sure it doesn't happen. A few members of biker groups, most in full road regalia, attended the bill signing in Gregoire's conference room, along with sponsor Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, who appeared in something slightly different than the standard coat-and-tie dress code enforced on the Senate floor.

WA Lege Day 37: Dogs on chains

OLYMPIA – Keeping a dog chained up in unsafe conditions could get the owner fined under a proposed state law being considered by the state Senate.

Good senators, said supporters who told the Senate Judiciary that chained or tethered dogs are more likely to turn mean and sometimes deliberately mistreated so they’ll be angry watchdogs at drug or gang houses.

Bad senators, said opponents who argued existing law already protects dogs from unsafe conditions whether they are chained or running free. Most dog bites, and all recent deaths caused by dog attacks, occurred with dogs that weren’t chained, they said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee isn’t quite ready to roll over on the issue…

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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