Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Senate Passes Spending Bill

The State of Washington has now passed a spending bill that covers the next two years. The budget bill cuts over $5B in spending over the next two years.  Coupled with this savings, usage fees have either been increased of initiated.

New Fees:
$30.00 annual fee for state park and recreation use.
This fee is expected to raise some $70M dollars over the next two years but there are some concerns that folks in the lower income brackets my no longer afford to use the parks. There is some validity in those concerns. When you live paycheck to paycheck, thirty bucks is a big deal.

Increased fees:
Fee for license plates: $20.00
Fee for vehicle ownership change: from $9.00 to $23.00
Some lawmakers have expressed concerns over these fees in that the money collected will not be used in the area they were gathered.  In other words, licensing fees will not all be used in the transportation realm.

For the most part, this budget was passed with bipartisan support. There were some Republicans who felt the cuts were not deep enough. They also did not care for the transfer of nearly $500M from a special fund.

I know one place they could have trimed some money from the budget. they could have gotten rid of the stupid West Coast Green Highway project.

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