Legislators have tough budget decisions to make as session begins next week | Editorial

The 2013 legislative session will begin in Olympia on Monday as local legislators tackle a tough $900 million budget shortfall.

That figure doesn’t include the additional $1 billion in spending required under the McCleary ruling that determined the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to pay for basic education.

It’s going to be a difficult fight and, some legislators say, may be impossible.

The City of Kirkland has its own legislative priorities.

The city approved its 2013 legislative agenda on Wednesday, which declared the city’s priorities for state funding and related legislation during the long 105-day session that will run through April 28.

The city’s top priority is money for state and local transportation to maintain infrastructure investments and complete projects that enhance economic vitality.

The city is also calling on legislators to retain the state annexation sales tax credit and defend against state revenue reductions that impact completion of the Finn Hill, Juanita and Kingsgate annexation.

Other city priorities include $5 million in funding for the next phase of the Northeast 132nd interchange ramp design, eliminating the $10 million ongoing diversion of liquor taxes and reinstating the local share of excess liquor profits, and developing the Cross-Kirkland Corridor.

Nine legislators across three districts will represent the city.

Those legislators include 48th District Reps. Ross Hunter (D), Cyrus Habib (D) and Sen. Rodney Tom (D); 45th District Reps. Roger Goodman (D), Larry Springer (D) and Sen. Andy Hill (R); and 1st District Reps. Luis Moscoso (D), Derek Stanford (D) and Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe (D).

Several of these officials will head various legislative committees.

In the House of Representatives, Hunter will lead the House budget writers, serving as chair of the Appropriations Committee that considers the state operating budget bill.

In addition, Goodman will chair the House Public Safety Committee, Springer will serve as the deputy majority floor leader for Jobs & Economic Development and Moscoso will serve as vice-chair of the Transportation Committee.

In the state Senate, Hill will chair the Senate Ways and Means Committee and McAuliffe will chair senate Pre K-12 Education Committee.

Tom will serve as chair of the Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee. He will also serve as the majority leader for the new and controversial bipartisan Senate coalition. The Majority Coalition Caucus will have six Democrat-led committees and six Republican-led committees that have no more than a one-vote majority.

As always, the Reporter will continue to keep readers informed of legislative issues that affect Kirkland residents.

We will cover legislative forums that occur in Kirkland, and for the third year in a row we also have a team of interns on the Capitol campus that will provide coverage for you through the WNPA Olympia News Bureau. These eight University of Washington interns account for more than half of the Olympia-based press corps.

We look forward to providing legislative coverage and we welcome your questions and comments about what is happening in Olympia to: letters@kirklandreporter.com.


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