Two stories in the news today serve as a good reminder that the release of the Governor’s budget proposal this Thursday is just the first step in a months-long process, and that the legislature will have its own ideas of how to close the funding gap.
An article in the Olympian examines a number of proposals to expand the tax base or to eliminate current tax exemptions. The Olympian article also catalogs a series of budget-cutting suggestions submitted by the public to the Office of Financial Management. They range from the large (forcing small school districts to merge) to the small (getting rid of the front license plate on cars). In a recent speech in the Tri-Cities, House Speaker Frank Chopp weighed in with some comments on how part of the budget gap might be closed, including eliminating a number of new programs and reducing pension contributions. Expect plenty of additional suggestions from all quarters after Thursday’s budget release.
Also, 9th District Rep. Steve Hailey, a Republican from Mesa, has announced he will resign from the legislature early next year to focus on treatments for colon cancer, which he was diagnosed with in January. Local county commissioners will name a replacement for Rep. Hailey. Our best wishes to him and his family.