Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today is the 82nd day of the 105-day session. The clock is winding down, and the Legislature has just three more weeks to pass a sustainable budget. While that's a hefty task, I'm optimistic we can finish on time by April 26.
I appreciate all who have reached out to me this session to offer their views and feedback on many issues before the state. If you have a question, comment or concern, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
House and Senate roll out budget plans
Yesterday the House passed a 2015-17 operating budget proposal on a party-line vote calling for $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes. The plan, created by House Democrats, would include a 5 percent capital gains tax, an increase in the B&O service tax rate that would hurt thousands of employers in Washington state, and the closing of some tax exemptions. It also proposes $5.1 billion in new spending and eliminates the voter-approved state spending limit. Click here for more information about the proposed tax increases in this proposal.
Across the rotunda, the Senate also released their 2015-17 operating budget. Unlike the House proposal, this budget would not increase taxes and stands as a good example for how government can live within its means and still fund important, necessary programs. You can read more about the Senate budget here.
Both chambers will have time to review the opposite chamber's proposal.
I have a hard time asking taxpayers for more money when the state is expecting an additional 9 percent increase, or about $3 billion, in revenue for the 2015-17 biennium.
Join Rep. Terry Nealey and me for a telephone town hall
On Tuesday, April 7, Rep. Terry Nealey and I will be hosting a live telephone town hall. The call lasts from 6 to 7 p.m., and is an opportunity for participants to ask questions, answer poll questions, and receive an update on the 2015 legislative session.
To participate, call (509) 885-9012 at any point during the call. To raise a question, just press * (STAR) on your telephones. I hope you can join us!
420 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000