Friends and Neighbors,
We are nearing the homestretch of the 2019 legislative session, with just 23 days left for state lawmakers to complete their work. The Legislature can – and should – finish on time. There is no excuse for a special session.
Over the past two weeks, I spent a lot of time in committee listening to testimony on bills that passed the Senate. In the House Finance Committee, of which I am the ranking member, we considered the governor's clean energy bill that passed the Senate. We also heard the House Democrats' new tax package that is assumed in their operating budget proposal – including a new business and occupation (B&O) tax surcharge on services, a graduated real estate excise tax and a new 9.9% capital gains income tax. All of these bills could reach the House floor for a full vote. If passed, they would have real consequences for families and employers. I'll keep you updated.
The House passed its capital budget on Wednesday, and its operating and transportation budgets last week. The House and Senate will both pass their respective versions of these three state budgets and then come together to work out the final details. I provide more information on these budgets, including voting details, below.
House operating budget – House Bill 1109 | passed 56-38 on March 29
I voted against the House operating budget because it spends too much ($8.6 billion more than current spending levels), relies on $4.2 billion in new tax increases over a four-year period, and sets our state up for major problems when the next economic downturn hits. It's simply not a fiscally responsible approach. I made these points in my House floor speech and video update last week.
The bottom line is our state is in a great fiscal position and can fund its priorities without raising taxes. Sen. John Braun and Rep. Drew Stokesbary, our Republican budget leads, have made this case and explained how it can be done.
House transportation budget – House Bill 1160 | passed 90-5 on March 29
I voted for the House transportation budget. The
process for this budget was more bipartisan and this is reflected by what's in
it and the final vote. For the past six years, I had a direct role in helping write
this budget, so I appreciate the time and thought that went into all of the
decisions made. I believe the budget we passed out of the House, while not
perfect, would go a long way to address critical transportation needs across
You can find more details of the proposal on this website. Here are some of the highlights:
- $3 billion for highway improvements (projects).
- $777 million for highway preservation.
- $499.6 million for highway maintenance.
- $540 million for Washington State Patrol.
- $214 million for making culverts passable by fish.
House capital budget – House Bill 1102 | passed 94-0 on April 3
Like the House transportation budget, the House capital budget was a bipartisan process and outcome. I voted for it. My seatmate, Rep. Richard DeBolt, is our ranking member on the House Capital Budget Committee. He does a great job of negotiating this budget and taking into consideration the needs of both the 20th District and our state.
Here are some of the priorities from this proposal:
- $1.1 billion for K-12 school construction.
- $927 million for higher education facilities.
- $357 million for mental and behavioral health.
- $195 million for projects that directly benefit salmon and salmon habitat, including habitat restoration and hatchery production.
- $100 million from the Public Works Assistance Account for grants and loans to local governments for infrastructure improvements.
- $79.5 million for local and community projects statewide.
- $69 million for veteran housing, home ownership, and developmentally disabled housing.
This website breaks down proposed projects by legislative district. If you choose “20th Legislative District” where it says “List,” you will find more information on local projects.
Your input is important to me. Please contact me if I can assist you, if you have an idea, or if you have a question. You are welcome to contact me at (360) 786-7990 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.