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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

February 24, 2014 at 5:14 PM

State Senate proposes $96 million increase in state spending

The state Senate on Monday released a proposed budget that would throw some additional money into public schools but nowhere near the amount called for by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee.

Inslee last month called for putting an additional $200 million into K-12 education, including cost-of-living pay increases for teachers.

The budget released by the GOP-led majority in the Senate on Monday would increase state spending by roughly $96 million. About $43.5 million of that would go toward additional state costs, including increased caseloads in the state prison system.

Another $52 million would boost funding for programs, such as an additional $38 million for K-12 technology related supplies and costs, and $5 million for a program that allows financial aid for students who were illegally brought to the United States as children.

Several Democrats, including Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, said they supported the Senate budget.

Ranker said there was a bi-partisan agreement to “decouple” the debate over increased education funding — mandated by the state Supreme Court — from the supplemental budget, which generally takes care of small changes in state spending. The Legislature approved a $33.6 billion, two-year state operating budget last year.

Ranker said Democrats would still push for additional money for schools, although time is running out for that discussion. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on March 13.

Inslee said in a statement Monday that the Senate budget doesn’t go far enough in funding education and urged the House, controlled by Democrats, to put more money into schools in its budget proposal due out this week.

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