Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The two sides (House Democrats and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus) were unable to reach a budget agreement during the 30-day special session. As a result, Governor Jay Inslee announced a second special session will begin today (Wednesday, June 12).
While I'm disappointed an agreement could not be reached, I'm even more disappointed with the governor for bringing his Washington, D.C. style of politics back to this Washington. His press conference announcing another special session was unlike anything I've ever seen from a Washington State Governor. He truly used his “bully pulpit” to point fingers and lay blame on the Senate. It was one of the most partisan yet unproductive press conferences I've ever seen. In fact, when we were done watching the governor's press conference, one of my colleagues said: “Well, that just set us back at least another week. Way to go, Governor.”
What we need is leadership from the governor's office, not threats of government shutdowns or fiscal cliffs. Again, his DC-style politics don't play well in this state. Here's a quote from Democrat Representative Jim Moeller in today's Vancouver Columbian:
“Moeller said during his time as a legislator, he's never seen lawmakers come this close to a government shutdown. Moeller, first elected to the House in 2002, said it seems as if 'the dysfunctions of Washington, D.C., have been imported to Washington state.'” – The Vancouver Columbian, 6/11/13
Gov. Jay Inslee spent 15 years in Congress. If anybody is importing the dysfunctions of Washington, D.C. here to our state, I think we know where it's coming from.
If you'd like to see the governor's press conference for yourself, click here.
Are you on the list? House Democrats bow to public pressure and take $879 million tax increase off the table
The original House Democrat budget proposal relied on a $879 million tax increase to balance our state's budget and fund education. When the bill (HB 2038) passed, it included a permanent extension of the B&O surtax on service businesses which House Democrats described simply as “doctors, lawyers, architects and others.”
When we asked for a complete list, it was not readily available. Through our own research, we found out that the “others” category is quite large. For example: the arts community, housing programs, human rights organizations, child day care facilities, home health care services, assisted living facilities, nursing care facilities, employment services, accountants, architects, auto dealers, builders, dentists, doctors, nannies, legal services, newspaper publishers, radio and TV broadcasting, personal care services, Realtors, and many more (for more information about “the list,” click the graphic on the right).
As word got out to the public, and more and more people realized they were on “the list,” the backlash against these potential tax increases was significant. Rep. Dan Kristiansen and I wrote an op-ed for the Everett Herald outlining in detail why these – and other tax increases – are not needed. (click here to read our op-ed) House Democrats backed away from this proposal and are no longer pushing it as a viable budget solution. While some in Olympia still want to raise taxes, the onerous tax proposals found in HB 2038 appear to be “off the negotiating table,” for now.
Congratulations to my seatmate, Rep. Dan Kristiansen!
As many of already know, my seatmate, Rep. Dan Kristiansen, was recently selected by House Republicans to lead our caucus. He is now serving as the House Republican Leader and will be the next Speaker of the House if Republicans gained control of the House after the next elections. Dan has served in the Washington State House of Representatives since 2003 and is known on both sides of the aisle as a man of integrity, wisdom and service. He'll do a great job as Republican Leader and residents of the 39th District should be proud of his efforts! Way to go, Dan!
Skagit River Bridge Update
I also wanted to give you the latest update on the Skagit River Bridge collapse. A temporary bridge should open sometime next week and a permanent span should be in place by mid-September. Below are some links that are being updated with new information as things progress.
- I-5 at Skagit River Bridge – this link is from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) webpage. You should find updated information on the detour, traffic times, and the investigation.
- Traffic camera at I-5 at Skagit River Bridge – this will allow you to view the Skagit River Bridge site.
Thank you for being an involved citizenry and for reading my e-newsletter. I hope you find it informative and useful. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as I keep you updated throughout the upcoming budget negotiations.
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7816 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000