Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We've hit the home stretch of the 2020 legislative session. There are only two weeks left before this short 60-day session is over. Of course, as always, there's a lot to talk about, but the big news this week was the release of the proposed supplemental budgets.
While the biennial budgets were passed during last year's long session, we always have to make a few adjustments during the short session.
On Monday, lawmakers from the majority side released their proposed 2020 supplemental operating, transportation, and capital budgets. As you might suspect, Republicans would have done many things differently.
Proposed 2020 Supplemental Budgets
Operating Budget – our state economy continues to thrive and the latest state revenue forecast is projecting a $2.4 billion budget surplus, thanks to that booming economy and a reduction in the need for state services.
That is more than enough money to completely fund the governor's budget proposal and all of the state's programs and agencies. In fact, we would still have more than $1 billion leftover.
That's why I joined with every House Republican and signed onto a bill that would provide $1 billion in tax relief to working Washington families. This bill would also implement voter-mandated $30 car tabs without disrupting any road construction projects. It would also eliminate the sales tax on prepared food items sold at grocery stores and on personal necessities like feminine hygiene products and diapers.
Furthermore, as we all begin receiving our latest property tax statements, it has become increasingly clear that Washingtonians are due for a break. I will continue to advocate for lower property taxes, as the state continues to bring in unexpected, record revenues. It's important that the government take only what it needs instead of continually withholding more of your hard-earned money. It's time to give working families some relief and give some of that surplus back.
However, the majority party has a different plan. Their proposed budget calls for spending nearly the entire $2.4 billion surplus on state agencies and programs, most of which don't need more money. If this happens, Democrats will likely call for more new taxes next year if our economy takes even the slightest downturn. House Republicans will propose numerous amendments to this budget before it reaches the House floor.
Transportation Budget – this was the most difficult budget proposal to amend this year. Unlike the operating budget, which has a $2.4 billion surplus to work with, the transportation budget was dealt a $453 million loss from I-976. However, despite the shortfall, committee members from both sides of the aisle worked together to come up with a budget that works. The proposed budget continues to successfully fund transportation programs for those with special needs, doesn't reduce funding for snow and ice removal, and makes it possible to restart all of the road construction projects the governor paused when I-976 passed.
Capital Budget – unlike the operating budget and the transportation budget, the capital budget did not undergo any major revisions, this year. The Capital Budget Committee produced a balanced, bipartisan proposal that would provide important funding to several areas, including helping the developmentally disabled, mental health support for children and young people, and assistance to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Update on My Sponsored Bills
I also want to update you on some of the bills I've been working on this session. The House passed four bills that I sponsored and three of them are still alive in the Senate.
House Bill 2879 – This would foster economic growth in the state by supporting in-state manufacturing. The bill would investigate all relative factors that could potentially help long-term job growth in the industry. It would also establish a limited-time study on manufacturing that would be assisted by a private sector advisory group. It unanimously passed the House of Representatives. The Senate held a public hearing for this bill on Tuesday, in the Financial Institutions, Economic Development and Trade Committee. It' scheduled for a vote in that committee on Feb. 27.
House Bill 2356 – This bill, which also unanimously passed out of the House, would create a logical and simple process for individuals convicted of a crime to apply for and receive a professional license. It would also let them know before paying any fees or filling out any forms, whether or not they would be eligible to receive the license they're seeking. This legislation is still waiting to be heard in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.
House Bill 2477 – This would require any professional licensing policy or practice, created after July 31, 2020, to be for the exclusive purpose of protecting the public interest. After unanimously passing the House, it's also waiting to be heard in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.
Stay Up to Date with Me in Olympia
Here are some great resources to stay in touch with everything going on in the Capitol, as well as with what I'm working on.
- RepresentativeBrandonVick.com – you can keep up with me and my legislative priorities and check in regularly for my email updates, news releases, and bills I've sponsored.
- www.leg.wa.gov – you can also track legislation, get bill reports, view committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
- The Washington State Ledger – this daily informative and comprehensive news aggregator is the House Republican Caucus's latest tool to keep you in tune with everything going on in Olympia and throughout the entire state.
- Capitol Buzz – this daily electronic clip service offers headlines and stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, television.
- TVW.org – tune into TVW, Washington's own version of C-SPAN. You can catch floor and committee action live.
Keep in Touch
It's not too late to make your voice heard. If you'd like to meet with me in Olympia, please make an appointment with my legislative assistant, Peter Gilmour at (360) 786-7850 or email me at Brandon.Vick@leg.wa.gov.
It's my honor to serve you.
To read this email update in another language, visit my website and click on the red “TRANSLATE” button in the lower left-hand corner to select your language.