Greetings from Olympia,
Now that we’ve passed cutoff dates, which are the deadlines for bills to be voted out of committee, we are wrapping up a week and a half voting on measures that originated in the Senate and are still “alive.” Thousands of bills are introduced every legislative session and the realm of possibilities just got much smaller. What’s worrisome are the numerous looming taxes the majority party wants to pass to fund its significant increase in state spending.
Even though the state’s budget has never been bigger – over $50 billion now – special interests are pushing their agendas at taxpayers’ expense. Just last week, the Senate approved legislation that would significantly increase the costs of energy for the average family in an effort to fight global climate change. Proponents of the legislation fail to take into account that our state is already one of the cleanest states in the country, with 77 percent of our energy coming from renewable sources.
I recently weighed in on statewide efforts to impose a plastic bag ban. While we all agree we should be good stewards of our environment, we differ on how to accomplish that. The bag ban might seem like a great way to address plastic in our oceans and waterways, if you think Washingtonians are the primary problem. We are looking at imposing a 10-cents-per-bag tax on consumers to address a problem originating in other countries. You can read more here.
On the Horizon
Legislative Democrats have been clear for years that they want an income tax in this state. Although voters have been even more clear this is not a direction they want to take, it appears some legislators think they know better. They are calling it an excise tax, a fee on capital gains, everything except what it is – an income tax. You can watch an informative video about the proposal and what the IRS and all other states are saying when it comes to implementing this new and arguably unconstitutional tax.
Undoing Education Equity
Education Funding Courtesy of the Seattle Times
Over the past several budget cycles, the Legislature invested billions of dollars into our state’s K-12 system, including reforms to local property tax levies to bring more equity across our state. In six years, state education funding increased 69 percent. Now, there are proposals that would roll-back these efforts, raising property taxes, short-changing students, and undermining the McCleary ruling on school funding. Just when 73 percent of taxpayers are seeing a decrease in their property taxes, Senate Bill 5313, puts us back at square one by allowing school districts to raise more property taxes, and possibly back in court. You can read more about these proposals by clicking here.
Improving safety in adult family homes
The state Senate approved legislation I’ve sponsored that would improve safety for disabled residents of adult family homes.
Senate Bill 5403, which passed unanimously, would require that nonambulatory residents of adult family homes be placed in settings that allow for evacuation without barriers such as stairs or elevators.
When there is an emergency, seconds matter… Read more.
Opt-out options for older employees
On the day before the deadline to vote on bills originating in the Senate, my legislation was adopted that gives more flexibility to public employees that are hired after the age of 60. It doesn’t make any sense to require that older employees contribute to a retirement system they’ll never benefit from. Senate Bill 5687, which was approved unanimously, allows employees to keep more of their paycheck.
It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns regarding your state government.
Your State Senator