Friends and Neighbors,
As always, please feel free to contact my office with your questions, concerns and comments. I am here to serve you. All of my contact information is at the bottom of this update.
Governor's tax on employers and producers
Gov. Jay Inslee's proposal to tax employers and producers across Washington state was part of a recent House Transportation Committee work session.
Although the governor expects $1,000,000,000.00 in tax revenue from it, his staff was unable to provide the committee with any details. It makes me wonder how he gets his numbers.
I will provide you with more information on this tax proposal when and if details emerge.
Last week the House approved a supplemental budget to pay for costs associated with last summer's devastating eastern Washington wildfires, the Oso mudslide that occurred last March, new psychiatric beds for mentally ill patients as required by a recent Supreme Court ruling, and other emergency needs.
Though not perfect, it obtained fairly strong bipartisan agreement. I hope that bodes well for cooperation on the larger 2015-17 budget we are required to approve later this session. With $3,800,000,000.00 more revenue to write the budget than we had when we wrote the 2013-15 budget, we certainly should be able to write and pass a budget we can all support.
Care for those with mental illness
Also last week the House unanimously approved “Joel's Law,” a bill allowing family members to petition the courts for involuntary commitment of a loved one when the individual is mentally ill and poses a threat to him or herself and/or others.
The bill is named after a young man who was tragically killed in a standoff with Seattle police after he went off his medications for bipolar disorder. His parents had tried for months to get him into treatment, but state law wouldn't let them. This much-needed legislation will, I believe, save and improve lives.
You may have heard or read in the news of the possibility of a gas-tax package in the Legislature. While no details have been made public yet, I want to reiterate my long-held position that before there is any talk of new taxes, we must have meaningful reforms to our transportation system. Since it is your tax dollars that pay for these projects, a more efficient and cost-effective system is what you deserve.
I will keep you updated on this and other important issues as the session progresses.
Thank you, and it is an honor to serve you in the state House of Representatives.