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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2015 regular legislative session has adjourned two days early. A number of issues are yet to be resolved – operating and capital budgets, along with transportation funding. Budget negotiations are ongoing, and leaders are working to bridge the gaps between the House Democrat and Senate Republican operating budget proposals.
The major difference is House Democrats want to raise and implement new taxes, while Republicans believe we can pass a fiscally responsible budget because of a 9 percent increase in revenue. That increase means we have $3 billion in additional revenue compared to the last budgeting period. Below is a chart showing the differences between the two budgets.
The fact is, Washington state has sufficient funding to increase our commitment to K-12 education, provide pay raises to state employees, reduce college tuition, and maintain our health and human services safety net – without raising taxes.
The governor has called for a 30-day special session to start Wednesday, April 29. Legislators don't need to use all 30 days, and I hope we can quickly reach agreement on all the budgets and a transportation plan. House Republicans did sign a resolution requesting the Legislature get right back to work and start the special session on Monday.
Three bills signed into law
The governor signed three of my prime-sponsored bills into law this week, and three others are expected to be signed in the next couple weeks.
House Bill 1313 was brought to me by the Central Pierce Fire and Rescue District. The law will authorize fire protection districts and regional fire protection authorities to adopt two-year budgets. A biennial budget for fire district commissioners will save them time, money and allow them implement performance measures.
House Bill 1317 will revise lien collections of sewer charges by counties. Under current law, cities can wait six months before recording a lien for delinquent sewer payments. Under HB 1317, this would extend the same policy to counties, allowing them to save on administrative costs and allow delinquent customers time to pay their sewer charges before having to pay recording fees.
House Bill 1961 is a higher education “cleanup” bill that removes outdated statutory language, corrects dates, and makes other technical updates to the community and technical college section of the Revised Code of Washington.
I welcome your ideas and feedback as we go into the special session. There are important decisions yet to be made and I appreciate your input.
To that end, Rep. Melanie Stambaugh and I are hosting a coffee time with constituents on May 9. Here are the details:
Saturday, May 9
1522 54th Ave. E., Fife,
10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
We hope to see you there.
Keep in touch.
468 John L.O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000