Good morning. Today is Tuesday, Feb. 23, the 44th day of the 60-day legislative session.
BUDGET ROLLOUTS TODAY
Senate Democrats start first, releasing their 2010 supplemental operating budget at 9 a.m. today in the Cherberg conference rooms. The budget plan will include tax options.
House Democrats follow at noon by posting documents online for all three of their budgets, followed by a 12:15 p.m. news conference with House Ways and Means chairwoman Kelli Linville, D- Bellingham, discussing the operating budget.
But the tax portion of the House Democrats’ plan is not being released yet, according to Linville. The plan calls for about $850 million in new revenue, including closure of tax exemptions, according to the Democratic caucus.
House Democrats also are releasing their supplemental transportation budget and capital- construction budget in the afternoon. The Senate released its multibillion-dollar transportation budget Monday, but its capital-projects budget might not be released until Wednesday, according to Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, who writes that budget.
PRINTER BILL HEARD
Representatives of labor and business staked out opposite positions on a bill heard Monday to abolish the state Department of Printing.
Owen Linch of the Teamsters and Gail Love of the Communications Workers of American opposed Senate Bill 6867. Linch said the state has the “best of both worlds” with a print agency that allows jobs done in-house but with the option of going to private firms when a better price can be gained.
Linch said Senate Bill 6867 would put people out of work.
Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, sponsored the bill and contends that lawmakers need to show the public they are changing government to reflect the changing times, giving the private sector the government work that is not vital to the state’s core mission.
Business lobbyists agreed during the hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Jim King of the Independent Business Association, Joyce Willms of Washington Media Services and Bill Stauffacher of the Pacific Printing and Imaging Association all spoke in favor of privatizing the work done by the agency since the office of the Public Printer was created in 1854.
The hearing comes at a time the House is poised to adopt House Bill 2969, which calls for some efficiencies within the print shop and to move its operation to the Department of Information Services. Gov. Chris Gregoire requested that consolidation.
It was not clear what next step the committee would take with the bill.