ELMA, Wash. - State Representatives Kevin Van De Wege and Steve Tharinger held a town hall meeting in Elma last night. With a Senate budget released last week, and a House budget expected out today, Tharinger said there are still some major differences between the two "When you are not willing to look at some sort of the revenue, or the other side of the ledger if you will, when you're looking at your budget you do these kinds of things like sweep what is dedicated money for 911 which our budget is not going to do." The Democratic Vice-chair of the finance committee said the house budget closes tax loopholes for big business to raise revenues.
Van De Wege detailed a boost in education funding mandated by the McCleary decision which will pump about 1 billion into K-12 education throughout Washington. "The state over the next few years is going to fund all day kindergarten for every school district in the state."The Sequim democrat said the poorer school districts will receive funding first "So there's going to be a lot of money coming into the school districts here in Grays Harbor. Which is sad that we're recipients of that money, but it's good that we're the first funded."
About 40 Harbor residents attended, Van De Wege said the house budget will get a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee and then move to the floor of the House for debate and vote Friday or Saturday.