Hill pleased with progress, bipartisanship as Senate budget committee hits first deadline

After passing Friday’s deadline for committees to approve proposals on which the state budget will be built, state Sen. Andy Hill, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said he was pleased with the progress and bipartisan nature of the committee’s work.

“We’ve moved through a lot of substantive information in a short amount of time and so far it’s going well,” said Hill, of Redmond, who serves the 45th Legislative District. “While this is just the first step of the budgeting process and there’s a long way to go, we’ve laid a good foundation for adopting a sustainable budget on time, which I believe is what Washingtonians want.

“In addition to the work before the committee, I am looking forward to continue working with Senators Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, and Sharon Nelson, D-Seattle, as we’ve spent a great deal of time combing through the areas that make up the budget. We’re on our way to putting together what I hope will be a budget that receives broad bipartisan support.

“The goal is still the same as when we started seven weeks ago: to establish a responsible budget that balances over the next four years, funds our legal and ethical obligations to Washington’s public-education system, and is focused on successful ‘outcomes’ rather than throwing money at something with no means of measuring success.”

Friday’s cutoff for budget-related bills came one week after policy committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives faced a deadline to act on their respective members’ measures. Legislation that is necessary to implement the budget is not subject to the deadline.