Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm disappointed the Legislature was unable to finish its work on time and that we are once again heading towards a special session. I think the people expect us to get our work done and compromise on solutions for Washington state. However, I do NOT think that the citizens want tax increases to be part of our budget solution – and this is what the special session has come down to.
I don't think the governor did us any favors by changing his stance on tax increases. Instead of knowing exactly how much money the state has to spend, and then living within our means just like every family and employer in the state has to, Democrat budget writers in the House and in the governor's office are debating with themselves which taxes to raise and by how much.
In fact, here's a quick look at the taxes that passed off the House during the last week of session (without one Republican vote):
- $534 million – Would permanently extend the business and occupation (B&O) surtax on certain businesses.
- $14.6 million – B&O tax rates for travel agents.
- $51.5 million – Would place sales and use tax on bottled water. This is the same tax that was repealed by voters in 2010.
- $43 million – Would repeal the nonresident sales and use tax exemption. This could especially hit our border counties very hard along the Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia borders.
- $78.7 million – B&O taxes for high-tech research and development.
- $63.2 million – Public utility tax on truck transport of goods in state that are destined for out of state.
- $24.1 million – B&O and sales and use taxes for import commerce.
- $29 million – B&O tax for sellers of prescription drugs.
- $40.8 million – Fuel tax for extracted fuel.
- $5.2 million – Handling losses fuel tax.
TOTAL: $879 million
I was extremely proud to join my House Republican colleagues in a major battle on the House floor against these unnecessary tax increases. If you want to see some of the video highlights of our floor speeches and why we don't think taxes are necessary, click here.
In my last e-newsletter, I asked you to participate with citizens around the state in our online poll question: “Do you think repealing a tax incentive for employers is the same as increasing taxes?” You can see the statewide results in the chart on the left.
My fear is that until “tax increases” are off the table for budget writers, the debate will continue to be centered around how much money “can we spend” instead of how much money “the state actually has.” This could result in multiple special sessions which would be a disservice to taxpayers.
I'm very pleased to report to you that a couple of my bills were signed into law by Gov. Inslee. I always strive to work well with members in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle. I think being able to disagree without being disagreeable is a key component to having success in Olympia. There are too many politicians that would rather burn bridges with their colleagues than work collaboratively.
HB 1021 – This bill requires information on the harmful effects of parental abduction be included in any information packet provided to individuals going through the divorce process. Parents going through difficult divorces can sometimes use their children as tools against each other. By providing documented statistics and in-depth information on how these actions harm children, we're hoping we can reduce these instances in the future.
HB 1944 – This bill bans the use of so-called license plate “flippers” in Washington state. These “flippers” are designed to switch out the license plates on a vehicle, possibly while being pursued by law enforcement. To listen to my radio spot on this bill, click here.