Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Because the Legislature is now in special session (again), we need to cancel our previously scheduled town hall meetings for this Saturday, March 19. Please stay tuned as I anticipate we’ll try again later this spring once budget negotiators arrive at a compromise.
Budget battle and governor’s threat to veto legislation
Similar to last year, special session hinges on one simple fact: should we raise taxes or not? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Please feel free to contact my office with your opinions.
House Democrats want to increase spending by nearly $500 million with about $120 million in tax increases on bottled water and out-of-state shoppers. They also raid the state rainy day fund for non-emergency spending and use a major accounting gimmick to balance the state budget in our four-year outlook.
In contrast, the Senate has agreed to tap the rainy day fund but only to pay for the wildfires from last summer – which were declared an official emergency by the governor. It looks like folks have dug in their heels on the budget but I’m hopeful we can come to a compromise quickly as long as it does not include tax increases. I’ll keep you informed as special session progresses.
Also, Governor Jay Inslee made good on his threat to veto legislation as a punitive measure until the Legislature sends him a budget to sign. His actions have not helped the situation. He vetoed 27 Senate bills, most of which had broad bipartisan support. In my opinion, the governor has enflamed the situation rather than calmed things down.
I’ve been asked if I’m currently in Olympia during special session. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’m involved in the budget process. However, during special sessions such as this one, House leadership sends most members home and only call us back to Olympia once there is an agreement or significant movement on bills necessary to implement the budget. Technically, I’m on 24-hour standby, meaning I have to be ready to return to Olympia with 24 hours’ notice.
I’ll continue to update you throughout the special session and report back to you on the final budget agreement. Until then, thank you for reading my email and for staying involved in your state government.