Hill announces bipartisan agreement on new state budget

State Sen. Andy Hill, the Senate’s chief budget writer, this morning announced that leaders from the Senate and House of Representatives have reached agreement on a new state operating budget that would take effect July 1. The compromise spending plan, which is expected to go before members of both chambers soon, will cover the 2013-15 fiscal biennium.

“All year I’ve been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Legislature to establish a sustainable plan that prioritizes education and lives within our means,” said Hill, of Redmond, who serves as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “I’m looking forward to finalizing and voting on a budget that puts an additional 1 billion dollars directly toward the basic-education obligations associated with the McCleary court ruling; protects our state’s economic slow but steady recovery; and provides relief for college students and their parents by ending tuition increases during the upcoming two year budget.”

The budget accord comes after both the Senate and House of Representatives passed their own budgets during the Legislature’s regular and first special session, but were unable to find agreement in both chambers on a single proposal. It allocates $33.6 billion from the state’s general fund and related accounts to cover the costs of state government programs beginning with K-12 education; providing for the latter is state government’s paramount constitutional duty.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done and I won’t stop until the plan is approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, but I’m pleased that we were able to work together in good faith to find a compromise while still holding firm to prioritize the education of more than a million students statewide.”