Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature's 30-day special session is scheduled to end Thursday, May 28. On Monday we received some good news in an updated revenue forecast by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
Washington state is looking at an increase of $106 million for the ongoing 2013-15 budget cycle and an increase of $309 million for the upcoming 2015-17 budget cycle.
The budget debate revolves around House Democrats and the governor wanting new revenue – new and increased taxes. Republicans believe we can make significant funding increases to K-12 education, increase teacher and state employee compensation, reduce college tuition, and maintain our social safety net within existing revenue.
With our state now having nearly $3.2 billion more in tax revenue -more than a 9 percent increase for the next budget cycle – I do not believe we need new or increased taxes. The governor has backed off from his original budget and tax proposal in December. See Inslee says $1.4 billion tax package no longer needed.
Our economy remains fragile outside of the central Puget Sound region. This is not a good time to raise taxes on working families. Our focus needs to be on creating jobs and easing the financial burdens on Washingtonians.
Legislators will be in Olympia next week for the final three days of the special session. The new revenue forecast should help budget negotiations significantly. I am hopeful we can finalize operating, capital, and transportation budgets soon, as well as reach an agreement on a transportation package that funds the completion of Highway 167 to the Port of Tacoma.
Meeting constituents at Poodle Dog
Rep. Stambaugh and I recently hosted a town hall meeting at the Poodle Dog Restaurant in Fife. I want to thank everyone who was able to attend. We discussed transportation, education and many other issues. I will keep you updated on more meetings in the future. We value your input.
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