PRESS RELEASE: Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released the following statement following passage of the 2017-19 state operating budget by the Washington state Senate:
"The final budget and education plan passed today reflects our core Democratic values but unfortunately is funded with a Republican property tax plan. This budget makes a historic $7.3 billion investment in our children's future. It spends tens of millions more on mental health and homelessness, fully supports family planning and Planned Parenthood, fully funds our state employees, increases funds for higher education, implements the Clean Air Rule, closes tax loopholes on bottled water and big oil and avoids a government shutdown.
"It is primarily funded however, by a $4.1 billion property tax increase that disproportionately impacts many communities across the state. I believe a more progressive plan including other options, such as a carbon tax on polluters, would have provided a better path forward. Unfortunately, the Senate Republicans have insisted on the biggest state property tax increase in our history.
"It is also unacceptable that Senate Republicans delayed negotiations bringing us to the brink of a government shutdown. But while we have passed a budget that reflects our core values, we must commit to developing a new, more progressive funding plan when we have the votes.
"In the end, we're doing the right thing but raising money in the wrong way."