Friends and Neighbors,
On Wednesday of this week the Legislature reached the cutoff deadline for House bills to pass the House, and Senate bills to pass the Senate. For eight days we were on the floor voting on legislation. Now we are back to our committees, holding hearings and eventually we will be voting on Senate bills.
Bills that passed the House
In previous email updates I've mentioned some of the bills I've sponsored this session. I'm happy to report that the following bills were voted out of the House this week:
- HB 1737 addresses the widespread problem of too few substitute teachers, allowing retired teachers to substitute teach up to 630 hours per school year without jeopardizing their pensions.
- HB 1738 ensures that all off road vehicle (ORV), snowmobile and marine fuel tax refunds will go toward maintaining trails and other infrastructure for those recreational vehicles.
- HB 2012 requires the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to use “practical design,” which can save taxpayers 15 to 65 percent on transportation projects.
At the beginning of session I talked about the status of the Washington state budget. A quick recap:
- Thanks to taxpayers, state government is getting $3,900,000,000.00 more tax revenues in the 2015-17 budget cycle than it did in the previous cycle.
- That $3,900,000,000.00 represents a 12 percent increase.
Despite these robust numbers, there are some inside and outside the Legislature who are pushing for new taxes and tax increases. Yet very little has been done to find savings in state government. It is not right to demand more from taxpayers when state revenues are growing faster than taxpayers' revenues.
Click here or on the icon to the left to watch my most recent video update, where I discuss the budget and why we do not need new taxes.
Finally, legislators have been writing budgets to fund general government (operating budget), buildings and environmental projects (capital budget) and transportation (transportation budget). It is important to note that the transportation budget is a current-revenue budget to fund maintenance and operation of the transportation system, which should not be confused with the gas-tax proposal recently passed by the state Senate. The budget proposals should be released by House and Senate budget writers in the next couple of weeks.