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Friends and Neighbors,
I've found these email updates to be a great way to reach you and other constituents with important news and information affecting our district and state. But election year restrictions limit my ability to send out these e-newsletters unless you agree to continue receiving them.
If you want to continue receiving these emails, do nothing and we will keep you on the list. If you do not wish to continue receiving this email update, please reply to this e-mail and we will remove your name from this list.
The 2010 session has begun. Bills are being introduced in both the House and Senate that can – and will – have an impact on citizens like you. And in the first week, bills were being heard – and passed – from several committees. Please feel free to contact me throughout session on issues that concern you. Your input is always welcome.
My priorities this session are simple: reduce government spending and enable citizens to get back to work. Government has grown too big while the amount of money you have left after paying taxes has shrank too small. While there are numerous issues I'll be working on throughout the session, my main focus will be along these two themes.
Last session, the majority party in Olympia failed to reform any part of government services or redefine government's role in our lives. Then, we faced a $9 billion budget shortfall. Now, we are once again faced with a budget deficit this session.
This year, we're expecting a $2.6 billion shortfall. And, unless we stop using budget gimmicks and budget Band-Aids, we're going to continue to see this cycle of budget deficits continue. Simply put, the Legislature cannot continue to overspend.
Tax increases are once again being talked about as well as the possibility of new taxes (gum, candy, muffins). There is even rumor about more one-time money coming from another President Obama bailout package.
But tax increases and one-time money are not the answer. I know our families and employers are making do with less, so we can't expect you to give more in new or higher taxes. And one-time money only continues to prop up the 'house of cards' into which our state budget has been built. We must build a budget that is sustainable in future years.
VEHICLE MILES TRAVELLED
This year, I'm cosponsoring legislation (House Bill 2755) to eliminate restrictions on 'vehicle miles traveled' because the Department of Ecology is seeking to actively reduce the miles you and I travel. I'm all for clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment, but state government has no business being so intrusive in our lives. This is a one-way street toward an eventual tax or fee based on the miles you and I travel.
10th Amendment – TEA Party
Speaking of the expansion of government, there is a growing grass roots movement in the state and nation focusing on states' rights. The 10th Amendment to our Constitution says that any rights not granted to the federal government, or prohibited by the states, is granted to the states and the people.
I joined with several of my colleagues in meeting with participants who came to the state Capitol in support of states' rights. I used the opportunity to speak with members of the TEA Party and explain to them how they can get involved in state government and move from a 'protest' stage to a 'proactive' stage.
I've also joined with other members of the House Republican Caucus in sponsoring many of the '10th Amendment bills,' which includes legislation dealing with self-defense, greenhouse gas emissions and 'cap and trade,' firearms, state sovereignty, presidential elections, and the initiative and referendum processes.
MADE IN WASHINGTON
It will be the private sector, not government intervention which will lead to job creation and the turn-around of our state and national economies. House Republicans have a plan we're calling “Made in Washington” to help get people back to work. We believe state leaders should be exhausting all resources and making every effort to retain and attract jobs.
Our plan addresses the high cost of hiring staff, cuts agency red tape, creates a health care market place that will reduce costs and increase access, ensures affordable and abundant energy, and ensures a fiscally-responsible budget.
I'll be talking about this plan throughout the session, highlighting different bills as they are introduced and go before committee. Visit our web site for more information on how we plan on making “Made in Washington” mean something again.
INVITATION TO OLYMPIA
If you're able, I encourage you to visit Olympia while the Legislature is in session. Contact my office and we can help arrange a tour of the Capitol or the Governor's Mansion. You can sit in on a public hearing or even sit in the gallery during floor action in the House or Senate chambers. And I'll do my best to make time to meet with you to hear your concerns.
This is YOUR government. Come see how it works.
Thank you for taking the time to read my e-newsletter. It is a privilege representing you in Olympia. I look forward to hearing from you over the next 60 days as we work together to make government more responsible and more responsive to you – the people it was designed to serve.
408 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7990 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000