Bipartisan budget fully funds education, reduces tuition without new taxes

Senator Andy HillSen. Andy Hill today released a final bipartisan two-year operating budget that fully funds education, reduces college tuition and protects the social safety net without raising new taxes.

“We began this year with the goal of fully funding education and ensuring a sustainable future for the state,” said Hill, chair of the Ways and Means committee and chief budget writer in the Senate. “Today we are delivering historic investments and bipartisan solutions that fully fund education, make college affordable and provide needed support for our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.”

The final budget increases early learning, K-12 and higher education funding by 19 percent while the rest of state government grows by 6 percent. An additional $2.7 billion investment in K-12 brings overall education spending to $18.2 billion — a more than 47 percent share of the state’s budget and a level that hasn’t been reached in 30 years. Other major investments expand high quality early learning opportunities and bolster the state mental health system.

The budget also reduces tuition at state colleges and universities for the first time in state history. Over 200,000 students will benefit, making Washington the only state in the nation to actually reduce tuition rates.

“With this bipartisan agreement we deliver a shared commitment to make meaningful investments in the lives of Washington’s citizens,” said Hill. “This historic budget will have a long-lasting positive effect on our state’s education system and will strengthen our economy with a workforce prepared to fill good Washington jobs.”

Lawmakers will vote on the budget before the new two-year budget cycle begins July 1st.