Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have reached the end of the 2017 regular session. When I arrived in Olympia in January, I fully expected to pass the budget on time. Unfortunately, a budget that benefits the majority of the citizens of Washington state was not reached on time. The governor has called us into a 30-day special session.
The truth of the matter is we are now in overtime because of the $8 billion tax increase, over the next four years, that sits on the table. The House Democrats proposed this massive tax increase as their solution to fully fund education. The House hasn't had the opportunity to vote on their tax package to see where the increases will actually occur, and how much of their 'intended' revenue will actually go toward funding our educational obligations. A few of the potential proposed tax increases include a 20 percent business and occupation tax on places like daycares and hospitals – some of the places your family depends on the most. It would also create a capital gains income tax. This type of tax has been ruled unconstitutional in the past since it's considered a tax on income. It's also the first step toward a statewide income tax. Did you know the voters of Washington state have voted against a state income tax NINE times? Yet, House Democrats are still finding ways to bring one forward. House Republicans are holding the line against any new, unnecessary taxes.
It is important to remember that our state revenues are not infinite. House Democrats want to grow/increase state revenues on the backs of you – the taxpayers. I do not believe this is the way responsible budget writing is done. The state continues to see increases in current revenue through natural growth and prosperity. To the greatest extent possible, we need to propose a budget within existing revenue, not just create a wish list, and then pass taxes to fund it.
I am hopeful that through the legislative process, we can negotiate and pass a balanced budget without increasing taxes. Along with the majority of the people in the 8th District, I believe it is time government prioritizes spending and lives within its means. We need to pass a budget that respects taxpayers, and meets our obligations.
As this special session progresses, and budget negotiations continue, I will be doing everything I can as a policy maker, to guide the conversation, and keep in mind all of our Washington state citizens – including many of those we believe are most vulnerable, such as our elderly, those with mental health needs, our developmentally disabled, and our disabled veterans, just to name a few. Our state also has infrastructure, military department and public safety needs. We cannot continue to have tunnel vision on just one need. Even though a priority focus is to finalize education funding, we cannot forget the other people and priorities of this state.
My number one task and goal is to serve you, the citizens of the 8th District, and all the citizens of Washington state. Your opinion, concerns and ideas are VERY important to me! I hope you take the time to share your questions, comments and concerns with me.
It's an honor to serve you. May God richly bless you, your families, and these wonderful United States of America! I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Washington day!