Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are two months into this year's legislative session. Bills that originated in the House and Senate have passed or died in their respective chambers, and committee work has resumed in the House to process bills from the Senate.
Just a month and a half remains in which to balance the 2011-2013 budget. The time has come to make around $5 billion in cuts to state government, the consequence of unsustainable budgets dating back several years. We'll soon have a more complete picture of the crisis we face; we are bracing for the news of next Thursday, March 17 when the next revenue forecast is announced.
With budget cuts looming, it is disturbing to see some of the fiscal notes that are attached to bills here. Even as we are facing a multi-billion dollar budget crisis, we are passing new expenditures and new costs to taxpayers. Despite recent retroactive budget cuts to school districts, we passed House Bill 1599 that would fund dropout prevention programs at a cost of $9.5 million over the next biennium. Despite taxpayers' expectations that a temporary tax will end when its temporary purpose ends, we passed House Bill 1997 that would prolong the King County stadium tax to fund public arts and economic development programs. And despite our lack of money, we passed House Bill 1071 that would create an empty bucket for local street and sidewalk projects.
If you have opinions about these policies, I hope that you'll join Rep. Bruce Dammeier and me for a town hall meeting on Saturday, March 12 at the downtown Puyallup Library from noon to 1 p.m. Come and discuss the budget situation and your ideas for the future of our state.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000