Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature failed to reach a budget compromise during the 105-day regular session and the governor has called us into a “rolling” special session. This is when most lawmakers are sent home with only a few key budget negotiators in Olympia. When an agreement is reached, or when certain aspects or “bargaining chips” of the potential budget deal need to be voted on, the rest of us are called back to Olympia to discuss, debate and vote on what's put in front of us.
To say I'm disappointed in another special session is an understatement. Budget writers have known for months exactly what the challenges would be. But there seemed to be no urgency to come to an agreement. Compared to previous sessions, there were very few weekend or late-night floor sessions. To many of us, it seemed “another special session” is what the other side wanted from the beginning.
The most frustrating part of this is the fact that this year's budget is in way better shape than anything we've seen in the past several years! I remember coming to Olympia with the prospect of closing billion dollar budget shortfalls due to the recession. Instead, lawmakers this year had around $3 billion in extra revenues from taxpayers! But that isn't enough for our governor and for House Democrats; they want to raise taxes by an additional $1.5 billion.
I don't believe tax increases are needed. I don't believe a compelling case for tax increases has been made. And I don't believe new and increased taxes are something the public is in the mood for.
I'll continue to keep you updated as the special session continues. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you in Olympia.