Friends and Neighbors,
We just passed the midway point of the 60-day legislative session. On Tuesday, we started an eight-day stretch of House floor action running up to house of origin cutoff on February 13. What this means is state representatives will be caucusing and voting on several amendments and bills, including working into the evenings and possibly this weekend. It’s a busy but also exciting time for state lawmakers, stakeholders and the public.
Most bills pass with strong bipartisan, if not unanimous, support. However, there are some measures that are more contentious and floor action and debates are more lively. In my next email update, I’ll provide you some details on what passed — and what didn’t — over the last two weeks. Please stay tuned.
Pushing for public hearings on the six initiatives
In my email update two weeks ago, I highlighted the six certified initiatives that are now before the Legislature for consideration. I support all of them.
On Tuesday, my assistant ranking member on the House Finance Committee, Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen, joined me in sending a letter to the chair and vice chair of that committee requesting a public hearing on Initiative 2111 (Prohibiting taxes on personal income) and Initiative 2109 (Repealing taxes on long-term capital assets). We made the point that state lawmakers have a constitutional duty to hold public hearings and that Washingtonians deserve to be heard. I will keep you updated on this issue.
Two newspaper editorial boards, including The Columbian, agreed with us that the Legislature should consider these measures:
- Initiative 2117 would overturn the law, and the fact that hundreds of thousands of signatures were gathered should be eye-opening for lawmakers. But thus far, Democrats who control both chambers of the Legislature have been reluctant to engage in a public discussion. Such obfuscation not only belies the duty of legislators, it is not politically expedient.
- At the very least, Democrats should hold hearings on I-2024, having the public conversation about its merits and the obviously slow-walked efforts to fix its well documented flaws … Be bold, lawmakers. Have the conversation with your constituents in public hearings.
Preventing new tax increases
I hear from many people who are struggling with the costs of living in our state, including increasing property taxes. I have proposed legislation, House Bill 1483, that would provide property tax relief by reducing both parts of the state property tax levies. Unfortunately, the majority party has not shown any interest in providing meaningful tax relief.
In fact, there is a proposal that would take us in the wrong direction of higher property taxes. Senate Bill 5770 would triple the growth rate of state and local property taxes by increasing the cap from 1% to 3%. The Senate Republicans have been working hard to stop this bill. They created this web page which has more information on the legislation. It appears, at least for now, that this bill is dead.
I oppose Senate Bill 5770, along with any measure that makes life more expensive in our state. Enough is enough. If we are not going to provide tax relief to individuals and families, the least we can do is not place more burdens on them. That will continue to be my focus these last few weeks of the legislative session.
I’m part of the House Republican Caucus. Each year, we put together an agenda — or our priorities — for the legislative session. While we are in the minority party, it’s important for us to put forward for consideration real solutions to the real problems you face. This year, we have been saying: Fix Washington.
I think we all know the crises facing our state, from affordability to public safety to homelessness. It’s important that serious proposals are put forward to address these problems. You can learn more about our solutions at these web pages:
I want to hear from you
I welcome your feedback on what I’ve discussed above or anything on your mind. Please keep the emails and phone calls coming. I appreciate when constituents reach out to me to share their thoughts. These conversations help shape my views and inform my votes.