State Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, is the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He replaces Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, who lost to a Republican challenger in the November election.
The House Ways and Means chair is one of the most powerful jobs in the state Legislature, serving as one of the lead architects of the state budget. Hunter, in a way, gets to keep his old job as chairman of the House Finance Committee as well. That panel was eliminated and absorbed into Ways and Means.
Hunter's counterpart in the Senate is Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of that chamber's Ways and Means Committee. Both men will play key roles in figuring out a way to close a projected $4.6 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget. The Legislature will meet in January to start working on closing that gap.
You can see all the committee assignments here.
Politics Northwest | Rep. Ross Hunter named chairman of House Ways and Means Committee | Seattle Times Newspaper
Ways & Means
Rep. Ross Hunter (Medina) - Chair
Darneille - Vice Chair, Appropriations
Hasegawa - Vice Chair, Finance
All of the Democratic committee members of the Washington State House Ways & Means Committee voted in favor of House Bill 2912 last year, a bill that would redirect control of King County lodging taxes from the state to the control of King County, for use in arts, heritage, youth athletics, regional centers, arts centers.
Hopefully a similar bill is introduced this 2011 Session.
Who is the chairman of the Senate Ways & Means Committee? Ed Murray.
I think our questions will eventually revolve around floor votes in the House and Senate.