CLE ELUM — Today, the state's largest business organization named Sen. Andy Hill Legislator of the Year.
The awards were presented Wednesday during AWB’s 25th annual Policy Summit at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum.
Hill received AWB's Matson Award, given annually to a lawmaker who upholds the tradition of the late Sen. Jim Matson, R-Selah, by working courageously and effectively across party lines in Olympia to make the state a better place for business.
Hill, R-Redmond, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, led the budget-writing work of the Majority Coalition Caucus in 2013, resulting in the most bipartisan budget in decades and the first in 30 years that did not increase tuition at public universities and colleges. The budget, which received yes votes from 89 percent of lawmakers, added $1 billion for basic education. This year, he worked with others to build upon the success and helped pass a supplemental budget that was even more bipartisan, passing 48-1 in the Senate.
"Sen. Andy Hill was instrumental in building a sustainable state budget that put students first and halted three decades of relentless college tuition increases," said AWB President Kris Johnson. "Senator Hill worked across the aisle and created a broad coalition of lawmakers to move our state in a positive direction."
Hill said he took the hard way toward a balanced budget. “The easy way out is to raise taxes,” Hill said in accepting the award. “The hard way is to sit in a room with your Democratic counterpart and hammer it out line by line. We were able to change the fundamental trajectory of spending and we were able to do it in a bipartisan manner.”