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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week the state's chief economist provided a revenue forecast so legislators can formulate budget proposals based on the amount sent to the state by taxpayers. The forecast for our next budget (2013-15, which begins in July) is scheduled to remain flat. However, we still have $2 billion more in tax collections for this budget than we had for the 2011-13 budget. This is a sign the economy is slowly stabilizing, though it is still fragile. The last thing we need is a tax increase; it will only hurt hardworking families and consumers and struggling employers. Read this column I wrote for the Prosser Record-Bulletin about the importance of protecting taxpayers and upholding the people's will to set a high bar for raising taxes.
With a fiscally conservative majority in the Senate, and a Democrat majority in the House that has openly expressed a desire for tax increases, we will likely see very different budget proposals from the two chambers. We expect to see those proposals sometime in the next two weeks.
We are now more than half-way through the 105-day session. House bills are moving through the Senate, and Senate bills are being considered in the House. I'm pleased to share that House Bill 1588 to expand background checks on those purchasing firearms did not move forward beyond the deadline. You can read about the fate of other bills in this summary published March 14. Note that I may not agree with the categorization of each bill as “good” or “bad” – this just gives you an idea which bills are still moving forward here in the Legislature.
You're invited to a telephone town hall
On Thursday, April 4, Rep. Terry Nealey and I will be hosting a telephone town hall. This is a chance for you to join in a community conversation, and ask us questions about this year's session in Olympia. To join the phone meeting, call toll-free (877) 229-8493, then dial pin number 15516. I look forward to talking with you!
Walla Walla Community College – Number 1!
I was pleased to hear that Walla Walla Community College earned first place in the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recently. The school beat out more than 1,000 other schools to earn the honor due to their fabulous programs to help train students in the highest demand career fields right now. The Walla Walla Community College is one of the many things I'm proud of in our district!
As always, please feel free to contact my office about these and any other questions or concerns you have. It's my job to serve you, and I am honored to be your representative.
420 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000