Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Monday, May 13, was first day of the 2013 special session. The regular, 105-day legislative session ended April 28. Because no agreement could be reached on a state operating budget, the governor called a special session. During the special session and into the interim I will be sending you updates like this one to keep you informed. Please feel free to pass this e-mail along to others who may be interested. You can sign up for my e-mail updates by clicking here. And, learn more about my activities as your legislator by visiting my Web site.
Around the district
The Legislature is currently in what is called “pro forma'” session; which means that although a special session has been called, we are not holding committee hearings or voting on bills. I am back home in the 18th District meeting with constituents and community leaders, consulting with local employers about how to make Washington State a more business friendly place and working to continue to grow our family's landscape construction and maintenance company.
Additionally, I will be supporting the Washougal Schools Foundation at the 10th Annual Stride for Education this Saturday, May 18. The Stride is an all-student fun run and 5K run/walk; proceeds from it fund teacher grants and student scholarships. After the run, I will be attending the 49th Hazel Dell Parade of Bands. I encourage folks to join me for these fun activities.
While most of the Legislature is still back home in their districts, House and Senate budget writers are meeting in an attempt to find a consensus on the budget that will move us forward. As I have shared with you before, the differences in the House Democrat's proposal, the governor's plan and the Senate majority budget are very different. You can see in the graph to the right exactly how the budgets are different (for a larger version please click on the graph).
- The Senate budget is balanced and “lives within our means” of expected tax collections, which are up $2 billion, or 6.6 percent. Therefore, it creates no new or increased taxes while allocating more money to education and priorities like public safety.
- The House Democrat budget (which mirrors the governor's plan) relies on $879 million in new and higher taxes to balance. These new taxes are in spite of the $2 billion more that is expected. This budget raises taxes on already struggling families, depletes the “rainy day fund” and makes no reforms to address out-of-control spending.
During the final days of the regular session I strongly opposed the final element of the House Democrat budget. This last piece was a bill that would end exemptions to the business and occupation (B&O) tax on many self-employed people, small employers and service businesses. Should another budget like this one come before us for a vote I will again vote 'no'.
I am hopeful that leadership and budget writers will look to the example set by the Senate and find a compromise both parties can agree on that does not further tax our hardworking citizens. I will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making in Olympia on the budget and any new legislation that may arise.
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 remember I am your legislator year-round and my door is always open. If there is any part of state government that I can help you with, please contact me.