Sheldon votes yes to budget proposal that supports local governments

The Senate approved a bipartisan supplemental budget proposal Thursday and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, explained how the budget would benefit his constituents in the 35th Legislative District:

“The approved proposal is a good budget – it’s projected to balance for four years and prioritizes education without raising taxes – and it is truly the product of strong bipartisan efforts.

“As one of the few legislators who is also a local county official, I have a unique perspective into the very real struggles our local governments face. Counties are subdivisions of the state and have very few sources of revenue, yet maintain essential and costly government components such as courts, jails, the sheriff’s office, and public health.

“That’s why I was glad to see that this budget would put money back into the local governments. The proposal allocates funds for Mason County to add a much-needed third Superior Court judge pending the House of Representatives final approval of my measure, Senate Bill 5981. It also earmarks $148,000 to reimburse Mason County for two aggravated murder trials that have resulted in extraordinary legal costs.

“Next year we will be tasked with writing a new two-year state operating budget and I hope when that time comes, we take a good look at how we can support the local governments and help them pay for the state-mandated programs that they operate and oversee.”

The supplemental budget proposal was overwhelmingly approved with a 41-8 vote and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.