Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we enter the final month of the 2012 legislative session, the budget will begin to take center stage. The recent state revenue forecast was virtually flat with a small increase of around $58 million for the remainder of the current budget cycle. However, it's important to remember that the state is expecting to take in around $2 billion more in the next biennium. We are currently looking at budget shortfall of around $1.3 billion and the need to implement changes to our education funding per the state Supreme Court McCleary decision. But with $2 billion more coming in, the resources are there to make the necessary changes without raising taxes.
Governor Inslee breaks his campaign promise
For months, Washington voters listened to candidate for governor Jay Inslee talk about his promise to not raise taxes. Today, Governor Inslee broke that promise with his budget proposal. He's relying on approximately $1.2 billion in new and increased taxes. We call it the Dirty Dozen!
1. Tax increase on recycled fuel environmental programs at Washington's oil refineries – $40.8 million
2. Tax increase on new car purchases – $94 million
3. Tax increase on bottled water – $51 million
4. Business and occupation tax increase on most state businesses – $94 million
5. Making temporary taxes set to expire on service-industry businesses permanent – $534 million
6. Tax increase on prescription drugs – $29 million
7. Tax increase on computer software – $78 million
8. Tax increase on telephone services – $83 million
9. Tax increase on import commerce – $24 million
10. Making temporary taxes set to expire on beer permanent, and extending the tax to the state's microbreweries (which were originally exempt) – $127 million
11. Extending state sales tax to non-residents of Washington state – $63 million
12. Tax increase on farm vehicles – $5 million
I don't believe our citizens want more taxes – they want more efficiencies, more accountability, more transparency and leaders that are willing to speak the truth and make the difficult decisions necessary to have the state live within its means. Our House Republican budget writers have been working with the bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition Caucus to craft a budget that Funds Education First, protects the most vulnerable and keeps criminals behind bars. And we are going to do this without raising your taxes. Stay tuned.
Nuclear Legislative Workgroup
I'm pleased to announce that I've been selected to participate in the National Conference of State Legislatures Nuclear Legislative Workgroup. The goal of the group is to learn about important nuclear waste management issues, gather updates from the U.S. Department of Energy and share information with other states. I'm honored by the selection and pleased that my many years of experience in this field will be put to further use.
Since 1891, young people from across the state have come to Olympia to serve as pages for the Washington State House of Representatives. Paging presents students with a unique educational opportunity to participate in the legislative process. Page duties are varied. They range from ceremonial tasks such as presenting the flags to operational chores like distributing amendments during legislative sessions. Each job is vital to the efficient operation of the Legislature. As the week-long experience draws to a close and pages return to their schools and communities, it is hoped that pages will share their experiences and observations with others in an effort to contribute to a more universal understanding of the legislative process.
To serve as a legislative page for the House of Representatives, a student must:
- Have permission from a parent or guardian
- Have permission from their school
- Be sponsored by a current member of the House of Representatives
- Be at least 14 years of age and not have reached his or her 17th birthday
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter. It is an honor to serve you in Olympia.