The 2013 legislative session which was scheduled to last 105 days ended up stretching to 153 days after the conclusion of two additional “special” sessions. While it took longer than any of us liked to reach agreement on a state budget, in many ways the results were worth the wait. Education investments are increasing by 12 percent over the next two years, which among other things prevented tuition increases at state higher-education institutions for the first time in almost 30 years. The funding also allowed for smaller class sizes in kindergarten and first grade.
One issue where legislators were unable to come to agreement was transportation funding. Some in Olympia were pushing for a new package of infrastructure improvements to be supported by an increase in the state gas tax and other transportation fees. Our bipartisan coalition leading the Senate felt it wasn’t the time to ask the public to consider a tax increase. In the end, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate approved a transportation package and a mechanism to fund it.