Friends and Neighbors,
Only 13 days remain in the legislative session. State representatives will be back on the House floor tomorrow voting on bills, including the House supplemental operating and transportation budgets. Yesterday was policy committee cutoff – opposite house, which is another self-imposed deadline set by state lawmakers to focus their work. Remaining deadlines include:
- Fiscal committee cutoff – opposite chamber: Monday.
- Opposite chamber cutoff – when bills must be passed by the full House and Senate: Next Friday.
- All bills and budgets by midnight on the last day: March 10.
Supplemental operating budget proposals
The House and Senate Democrats released their supplemental operating budget proposals on Monday. Unfortunately, neither plan offers meaningful tax relief for Washingtonians – despite a historic budget surplus and crushing inflation. This is disappointing.
State lawmakers have the best opportunity in decades to provide real, significant tax relief to struggling families – without jeopardizing any important state services. I have proposed House Bill 1898, which would provide property tax relief by reducing both parts of the state school levies. You can learn more in this video I released earlier this week.
The House Republican motto these past two years has been: real solutions. But it’s not just a slogan. For the last two years, we have put introduced comprehensive proposals for consideration – a stark contrast to what the majority has proposed and passed.
This year, like last year, my colleague – Rep. Drew Stokesbary – proposed a supplemental operating budget framework that prioritizes Safety, Affordability, Families, and the Economy (SAFE). It would reduce the state sales tax, lower the B&O tax for manufacturing and trucking, and expand an existing tax preference for food processors – all aimed at lowering costs for Washingtonians. He discussed his budget plan at a news conference on Tuesday.
You can learn more about the three supplemental operating budget proposals below. These links will take you to caucus web pages.
Supplemental transportation and capital budgets
The Legislature also needs to pass two other state budgets – transportation and capital – in the final days of the legislative session. As I mentioned above, the House is expected to vote on its version of the supplemental transportation budget tomorrow. It would provide $11.7 billion to continue to operate our transportation system as well as maintain and build previously approved transportation projects – including some in our district. I will share more information, including how I voted, in a future email update.
We don’t have an exact date on when the House will vote on its supplemental capital budget. This budget would spend $1.5 billion on important projects relating to infrastructure, housing, mental health facilities, broadband, and school seismic safety. It would also fund local projects in the 20th District. This story in The Chronicle features some of these projects. I will also share more details on this budget in the future.
Update on tow truck safety issue
I recently told you about my tow truck safety legislation – House Bill 1709 – which would allow emergency tow truck operators to use revolving red lights when approaching the scene of an emergency or accident and use a rear-facing blue light when they are at the scene. That bill passed off the House floor on February 12. It has not been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee, but we heard another version of it in the House Transportation Committee – Senate Bill 5907 – by Sen. Jeff Wilson.
The bad news is we lost yet another tow truck operator who was killed on February 15 while carrying out his professional duties on I-5. Whether it’s my bill or the Senator’s measure, we need to get policies in place that protect our tow truck operators. They are asking for our help, and we should provide it.
State budgets, the transportation plan, policing, and emergency powers – all these issues and more will be decided in the next two weeks. I want to hear from you as I consider bills and amendments. Please keep the calls, emails, and letters coming, and I will do my best to respond to them as quickly as I can during these final two weeks of session.