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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sunday Spin 2: Changes in Olympia

Also planning a campaign for 2016 is state Sen. Pam Roach, who announced last week she’ll run for a seat opening up on the Pierce County council.

Legislature passes $38.2 billion budget

OLYMPIA -- After spending 165 days struggling to write a budget, the Legislature needed less than two hours to pass a $38.2 billion spending plan out of both chambers that boosts money for schools and mental health programs and cuts tuition at state colleges.

Budget details still being worked out

OLYMPIA -- Some details of the state's proposed $38 billion budget continue to be worked out as the Legislature prepares to vote later today.

Washington officials announce state budget deal

OLYMPIA – College tuition would fall, teachers would get raises and mental health funding would rise in a two-year budget deal announced on Saturday after long negotiations among state leaders. But few details were revealed – indeed some numbers apparently weren’t even finalized – as officials promised in a news conference that they made a deal that will prevent a partial government shutdown scheduled to start Wednesday.

House Democrats offer $38.4 billion budget plan

OLYMPIA – House Democrats unveiled their latest 2015-17 budget proposal, a $38.4 billion plan with lower spending and fewer taxes than a bill they passed earlier this year. For optimists, it represents a move toward the center that could help end a budget standoff before a partial government shutdown at the start of July.

Sunday Spin 2: Say what?

“Are those questions that could be resolved in the budget, or are those questions that would be resolved with a Ouija Board or something?"

House budget panel approves changing law to allow medical school

OLYMPIA – The prospects for a new medical school operated by Washington State University took a step forward late Friday evening as a key committee approved a bill to make that possible. Possible, but not mandatory, said some legislators.

Washington bill calls to adjust wolf plan

OLYMPIA – An Eastern Washington rancher lost some 300 sheep to wolves last year when the flock was sent to a grazing area that contained a wolf den. Wildlife experts monitoring recovery of wolves in the region knew where the den was, but area ranchers didn’t. Had the rancher known about the den, he wouldn’t have put some 1,800 sheep into the leased grazing area, said Rep. Joel Kretz, sponsor of a bill that would adjust a 2011 plan to avoid such losses through better communication and improved management of the region’s wolves.

WSU medical school bills take detour in House, Senate

OLYMPIA – Bills that would give Washington State University the authority to start a medical school in Spokane, which last week seemed on the fast track, have hit an unexpected detour. The House and Senate budget committees will hold hearings on the costs of a proposed medical school before legislative leaders will allow full votes in either chamber.

Washington Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal boosts school spending

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled a budget proposal that would spend $2.3 billion more for public schools, strengthen mental health and child welfare systems, boost parks and implement tougher environmental rules. He’d pay for it with a string of new and increased taxes, along with cuts and savings in existing programs.

Spin Control: GOP’s budget metaphor oversqueezed

OLYMPIA – It’s time for someone to give Senate Republican budget writers a new metaphor for hyperbolic parsimony. Looking at the state’s less-than-cheery prospects of matching income to outgo last week, the chief GOP Senate budgeteer deployed the well-worn image of personal thriftiness, the squeezed toothpaste tube.

State grapples with $2 billion projected budget shortfall

OLYMPIA – Wednesday was filled with so many economic numbers for state government that Washington’s legislative leaders had to overwork a metaphor about toothpaste to debate how to deal with some of them. Legislators got estimates on how much money they’ll have available for the next two years. It’s more than they thought when they adjourned in March because more workers are on the job and people are spending a bit more, which means sales tax collections are up. Business tax collections also are up and real estate sales are stronger, particularly in metropolitan Seattle.

Marijuana money boosts Washington’s budget

OLYMPIA – Washington tax coffers could get a $25 million boost by next July and nearly $200 million by mid-2017 from legal marijuana, state economists estimate. But much of that money is spoken for and won’t help the general fund. The estimates for taxes and fees the state can expect from recreational marijuana, the first such available, are contained in overall economic and revenue forecasts released Thursday afternoon. In general, the state’s budget outlook is changed slightly for the better from the June forecast, economist Steve Lerch said. 

Washington voters on their own to decide ballot advisory measures

Voters seeking extensive information from the usual sources on five statewide advisory measures may be out of luck. There are no high-powered campaigns for or against the nonbinding Advisory Votes 3 through 7. No statements pro or con in the state Voters’ Pamphlet. No websites with videos or lists of endorsers.