Friends and Neighbors,
Preparations are underway for the next legislative session, which begins on Monday, January 11, 2016. This is a short session, which occurs during the second year of the two year legislative cycle, and is scheduled for 60-days.
This session I will continue to focus on protecting taxpayers and passing government reforms. The state needs to meet its obligations without taking more money out of taxpayer's pockets. I'd like to give you a quick overview on what I am working on.
I-1366 limiting tax increases
As a taxpayer, I know how tough it is when the government continually takes more and more, because that means less and less for you and your family to spend on your needs and priorities. It should be hard to do certain things, and raising taxes is one of those things that should be hard to do.
The ballot results in November represent the sixth time since 1993 that voters have approved the requirement of a two-thirds legislative majority in order to pass tax increases. With the passage of I-1366, the people have now demanded the opportunity to add this requirement for raising taxes to the state constitution.
This latest initiative is different from the previous five: it would decrease the state portion of the sales tax from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent unless the Legislature refers to the voters a constitutional amendment before April 15, 2016. Right now taxes can be raised through a simple majority vote of the Legislature.
In 2015 I sponsored House Joint Resolution 4206 which would amend the state constitution and place restrictions on tax increases – including any action by the Legislature that raises taxes to require approval by at least two-thirds in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, if the Legislature refers the action to the voters, a simple majority would be sufficient. I will be introducing another version in response to the passage of I-1366 to also require that fee increases can only be approved by the Legislature – not by state agency appointees.
I believe that lawmakers need to represent the will of the people. I will continue to push forward in the coming session to send to the voters a constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote for tax increases.
In addition, I will be addressing numerous issues relating to education, transportation, and a variety of other topics – any number of which can spring up between now and the end of session. As always, I keep citizens' rights and freedoms, along with taxpayers, at the top of my priority list as I consider various policies.
I welcome your calls, messages, letters and visits. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me and share your concerns, opinions, or questions. I am here to serve you. Please call my office at 360-786-7990, better yet – send email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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