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Sen. Ranker issues statement on special session adjournment

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released a statement following adjournment of the Legislature’s special session Sine Die, stating his concern over protecting education funds, family planning, improving the public safety net, putting Washingtonians back to work and balancing the budget.

"While it is unfortunate that it took a special session and weeks of secret budget deals for our Republican colleagues to coalesce around these values, I am pleased to say that the budget agreement passed shortly after sun rise today honors each of these commitments,” Ranker said. “In the end, after nearly 24 hours of debate and back and forth between the House and Senate, all of us – Republicans and Democrats – realized our state is better off when we can work together in a bipartisan fashion.”

Ranker was disappointed that a change to K-12 teacher’s health benefits did pass in the Senate, because it will negatively affect teachers and is an unfunded mandate for school districts. For this reason. Ranker voted “no” vote against this legislation.

“The budget itself, however, keeps the door of opportunity open for our aspiring and most needy students by making no cuts to K-12 or higher education for the first time in over three years. It preserves family planning services at current levels and stops an attack on women in its tracks,” Ranker said. “It puts 18,000 Washingtonians back to work across the state in some of the industries hardest hit by the Great Recession. While it does contain some painful cuts to our public safety net, it does not eliminate any services wholesale, like the Republican budget first proposed to do, and it preserves food assistance to needy families”

Ranker was please see the pass of a capital budget that will improve storm water infrastructure, provide funds for Skagit Valley College and Western Washington University and Skagit Public Utilities District, bringing $42 million to the 40th district and creating approximately 420 jobs in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom Counties. A detailed list of projects will be available in Rankers’ annual print newsletter and at www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/ranker/.

Finally, Ranker added, the budget balances our books and leaves us with a healthy reserve of $320 million, should our steady recovery falter down the road. He also mentioned that the government reform compromises proposed by Democrats will also contribute greatly to our fiscal outlook over time.

“While it was a difficult path to arrive here today and there were times where I was unsure whether we would finish, ultimately, we came together for the good of all Washingtonians.” Ranker said. “Voting ‘Aye’ for this compromise was not a decision I took lightly, especially so given the proposed cuts to the public safety net. But this budget and the accompanying bills we proposed address the deep budget shortfall we faced and do so with the least impact on our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

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