Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, I am in Olympia to participate in the annual Legislative Committee Assembly Days. Normally at this time the Legislature would hold various committee meetings and discuss possible legislation for January, when the 2014 regular session starts. This year things are different.
I have learned recently the Senate will be holding a public hearing on proposed transportation reforms and a tax package.
Due to this hearing, and comments made by the governor , there are rumors that there may be a fourth special session may be called this year in an attempt to pass a new gas tax. If you have strong opinions about the gas tax, I encourage you to participate in this hearing. The Senate Transportation Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21 in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the J.A. Cherberg Building. (Directions can be found here.)
Additionally, the House Transportation Committee will be holding a work session on transportation at 3:30 p.m. immediately following the Senate hearing. While public testimony is not allowed during a legislative work session, you are welcome to attend and hear what the Department of Transportation proposes regarding reforms, cost efficiencies and more. The full agenda can be found here. The House Transportation Committee will meet in House Hearing Room B of the John L. O'Brien Building.
As I have stated in the past, I do not support taking more from struggling families and businesses without the assurance of reform. Previous transportation budgets that included gas tax increases have paid for an off-ramp in the wrong place, faulty ferries and a flawed 520 Bridge.
I want the public to be involved in the legislative process. Please pass this email along to everyone you know, call your senator and participate if you can in the hearing on Thursday. New taxes, transportation reforms and infrastructure are all critical issues. They are also complicated issues that require public input.
As you heard in the news the third special session of 2013 produced two bills. The first measure, Senate Bill 5952, would extend the expiration date of existing aerospace tax incentives from July 1, 2024 to July 1, 2040. You can find specifics here. And, the second piece of legislation, House Bill 2088, would expand our state's investment in aerospace education and workforce development and increase enrollment in related fields at community and technical colleges. You can find more details here.
Please watch my speech proposing a tax system that is fair to all Washingtonians and encouraging the Legislature to ensure that, unlike the third session, the public is always included in the process.
Although I am here this week I have had the privilege of being out in our community a great deal in the last month. It's been a pleasure to meet with many of you and talk about the issues that matter to the 18th District. My appreciation to the following groups for allowing me to participate in your events and for sharing your insights with me. Recently I attended:
- the Weyerhaeuser Fall Community Leaders Briefing
- the Clark County Prayer Breakfast
- the City of Battle Ground Tour
- the Responsible Growth Forum
I was also happy to participate in the “Meet Your Legislator” event at the Vancouver branch of the Washington State University, the Clark County Career and Tech. Education Consortium, and the ESD 112 Legislative Forum. I am always interested in encouraging our youth to participate in government. It was great to meet so many bright students and future leaders. I commend all of our students, staff and teachers for their interest in how our state government works.
I am here to be a resource for you and hear about your concerns, issues and ideas. If there is any part of state government that I can help you with, please contact me. Thank you for the opportunity to be your voice in the Legislature.