South county politics: Legislators say capital budget tops other priorities

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South Snohomish County Democratic state legislators say that passing a capital budget is at the top of a long to-do list now that Democrats will control both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives when the 2018 Legislature starts its 60-day session in January.

Democrats took control of the Senate when a Democratic victory in a November special election gave them a 25-24 majority.

The legislature passes a biennial operating budget during a 105-day session in odd-numbered years and tweaks that budget based on updated information during a 60-day session in even-numbered years.

While the 2017 legislature passed the biennial operating budget and a transportation budget, it couldn’t pass a capital budget, which pays for state buildings and other projects from the state’s bonding authority. The Republican senate majority had demanded that the legislature first fix rural complaints stemming from a State Supreme Court land-use decision.

Chase: Capital budget is one of many tasks for new Dem majority

Democratic State Sen. Maralyn Chase says that passing a capital budget is the first of many tasks for the Senate’s new Democratic majority.

She said in early December that other bills mean little if Democrats can’t pass the capital budget bond bill.

She added that the legislature needs to address unsolved issues related to the State Supreme Court’s order for the Legislature to provide full support for public schools.

She also said that, as the new chair of the Senate Economic Development and International Trade Committee, she hopes to craft a strategy for a growth economy.

“I am looking at how we can now move forward to grow an inclusive economy where everyone shares in the prosperity, where businesses thrive, and our citizens enjoy an increased standard of living,” she said. “We pay our taxes as equal partners to create the conditions that allow a strategy for economic growth to be successful: training the workforce, modernizing infrastructure, devising adequate capital formation and creating sustainable rules and protective regulations. From these investments we have created the foundation for a strategy for economic growth to be successful. Or have we?

“The modern economy runs on the internet. Every area of our state must have access to the internet if the residents are to have a place in the modern, global economy. The internet is as necessary a part of the infrastructure of the modern economy as are roads and bridges. Skill in operating the internet, and access to the internet, are minimum qualifications to participate. Vast areas of our state do not have access or skills to operate the internet. We need to fix this.”

Chase will take the chair of the committee on economic development and international trade in the 2018 legislature because Democrats have taken a 25-24 Senate majority after a Democrat won a special election in November for a seat representing east King County that had been held by a Republican.

In addition to being chair of the committee on economic development and international trade, Chase also will be a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and of the Rules Committee.

Chase represents the 32nd Legislative District including the city of Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas, the city of Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

Ryu hopes to avoid another special legislative session

Democratic State Rep. Cindy Ryu says she hopes legislators can get through their scheduled 60-day 2018 session, with no special sessions to complete their work, including passing a capital budget, a supplemental budget, and other bills in a timely manner.

In 2017, legislators were unable to pass an operating budget during their scheduled 105-day session, and went to three 30-day special sessions to reach a compromise between the Democratic-controlled State House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled State Senate. Legislators never reached an accord on a capital budget.

Ryu, who chairs the House committee on community development, housing and tribal affairs, said in early December that she has asked House members who are thinking of introducing bills that might be referred to her committee, to introduce them early so she can schedule their hearings the first two weeks of the session.

Ryu represents the 32nd Legislative District including the city of Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas, the city of Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

In addition to being chair of the committee on community development, housing and tribal affairs, Ryu is a member of the Capital Budget Committee and the committee on commerce and gaining.

–By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com. 

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