Rep. Mike Volz to serve on budget, education committees

State Rep. Mike Volz, R-Spokane Valley, received his committee assignments in advance of the 2018 legislative session.

Volz, who began the second year of his two-year term Monday, was appointed to serve on the House Capital Budget Committee, which considers the state capital (or construction) budget.

Last year, lawmakers failed to pass a capital budget when negotiations on a bill to address the state Supreme Court's October 2016 Hirst decision broke down toward the end of July. Republicans in the Legislature contended passage of the two bills be tied, arguing that granting government the authority to build while rural families could not would be unfair.

“It's tragic that while Seattle developers can drill wells in rural Washington to pump water into Seattle without regard for water availability, if you live on that very land in rural Washington, you can't drill a well,” said Volz. “The hypocrisy is glaring, and the economic ramifications are startling. With properties lacking access to water, the full impact is yet unknown, but the Spokane County Assessor has been forced to devalue properties into the tens of millions of dollars. And that's just in Spokane.”

Volz says having the bills tied to each other is one reason he's looking forward to serving on the committee.

“Washington is struggling right now. Aside from the Hirst decision having a devastating impact on rural Washington families, we're without a capital budget, which has left important community projects in limbo. The people of this state need, and deserve, both a Hirst fix and a capital budget. These bills were tied for a reason, and it would be wholly unfair to pass one without the other,” he said. “I'm confident Hirst negotiators from our caucus will hold fast to a comprehensive solution, and I'm ready to do my part in securing funding for vital projects throughout the state.”

The capital budget approves money for the construction and repair of public buildings and for other long-term investments, such as land acquisitions and transfers. The committee also considers state money that is either given or lent to local governments or nonprofit organizations for infrastructure, housing, and cultural and heritage facilities, as well as bills relating to public works contracting, state buildings and land, and the authorization of state debt.

Volz will also continue to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, which considers the state operating budget, and the House Education Committee.

“Last year was a big year for education funding when the Legislature passed House Bill 2242, which satisfied the state's constitutional obligation to fully fund K-12 education as argued in the state Supreme Court's 2012 McCleary case,” said Volz. “While the court endorsed House Bill 2242 as a constitutionally compliant policy, they were not pleased with the fact it would not be fully implemented until 2019, so they ordered the Legislature to achieve full funding by September 2018. In order to do so, the Legislature would need to find approximately $1 billion during the 2018 legislative session in order to fully fund salaries for the next school year.”

“Serving on both of these committees, I'll be standing on the front lines of this debate as it takes shape in 2018,” he said.

The 2018 legislative session is scheduled to run for 60 consecutive days.


Washington State House Republican Communications