Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Tuesday marked the end of the first special session of 2013. On the same day, the governor informed us there will be a need for a second special session. This should not be needed and is a disappointment to me and my fellow Republicans. After 105 days of regular session, and another 30 days, we should have a well-written budget. But we have nothing of the sort.
The budget log-jam
The governor and House Democrats are playing a blame game and pointing fingers at the Senate Coalition instead of working for a compromise. The state is expected to bring in at least $2 billion more this biennium. Two billion dollars can pay for all of our growth and inflation while still putting millions of dollars into education.
I am frustrated by the continuation of session. However, I strongly believe the Legislature should not further tax our hard-working residents or fund education last and without reforms. I believe we should demand a budget that does not impose more fiscal hardships on the people of Washington state. The Senate has proved that a budget which provides $1.5 billion more for education without holding our classrooms hostage to a tax increase is possible.
However, the budget proposed by House Democrats would not only increase taxes on citizens, it would:
- strip millions out of the Public Works Assistance Account, thereby robbing funds from local governments;
- threaten our high-paying local jobs by increasing taxes on our refineries; and
- increase the cost of prescriptions for the sick and elderly.
What is happening in Olympia
Yesterday, June 13, we worked late into the evening and negotiations were slow. Compromise was not in abundance despite the looming deadlines. But, it is the governor and Democrats resorting to the blame game, fear tactics (such as threatening the shut down of state government) and unreasonable requests that cause the log jam.
I am proud to say some good came out of the long hours worked. Last night we passed a bill that will allow us to clean up our environment and create jobs. Senate Bill 5296 will work to renew contaminated lands to make them suitable for redevelopment while expediting and streamlining the permitting process. The bill also finally creates accountability and oversight for the Model Toxics Control Act. I was happy to vote “yes” on this bill.
Unfortunately, House Bill 2075 also passed last night. Under this legislation, our state would create a tax that didn't exist before 2005 and apply it to trusts created all the way back to the 1980s. This is unfair. I voted “no” on this bill. Yet, in an effort to find compromise on the budget, this bill did pass both houses and was signed by the governor.
Although I am often in Olympia, my thoughts are never far from those back home. We have had some noteworthy things happen recently in the 18th District.
I would like to congratulate the Skyview Storm for winning the 4A Baseball Championship! My congratulations also goes out to the Commerce award winners from the Camas/Washougal Chamber:
- Big Foot Inn – Business of the Year
- Norm Paulson – Citizen of the Year
- Eric Johnson – Teacher of the Year (Washougal School District)
- Candy Michener – Teacher of the Year (Camas School District)
Finally, I would like to welcome our new law enforcement officers. Matt Kentala will join the Vancouver Police force. And Christopher Mikles, Kendra Leonard and Paul Uminiski are our new Sheriff Deputies. Thank you in advance for your public service and dedication to the protection of our residents.
During the special session and the interim I will have an office open in our district. If you would like to meet with me in person and cannot make the trip to Olympia, please stop by. The office is located at 532 NE 3rd Avenue, Suite 104, Camas, WA 98607 and you can call the district office at (360) 210-7070. Please feel free to pass this e-mail along to others who may be interested and send me your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org.