Town hall follow up, Billions in new taxes!

Update from Olympia

March 30, 2017

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Greetings from Olympia!

I am back in Olympia after spending this past weekend in our legislative district meeting with constituents at town-hall events in Coupeville and Mount Vernon. I am grateful to everyone who came out and offered their insights, voiced their concerns and shared their frustrations. Although we may have disagreements on how to address some of the issues facing our state, I found our time together informative and productive. People from all over the district showed up to participate in our democracy – and that is a good thing!

During the town halls, I discussed the Senate’s new operating-budget proposal (Senate Bill 5048) that was approved this past Thursday. Although there are aspects of the proposal that I have concerns about, it is a starting point, and a good one. With nearly $3 billion more coming to the state through increased economic activity, we’ve been able to invest in our state’s paramount duty – educating our students in a fair and equitable manner – and prioritize spending to offer the biggest benefit for our state’s most vulnerable, including significant spending increases in our state’s mental-health system. You can read more about the Senate budget by clicking here.

How much is enough?

budget

Monday, the House of Representatives’ majority Democrats unveiled their budget proposal, which shows where they think our state’s priorities should be. I am not thrilled with the proposal. The House is proposing an increase in state spending of $6.4 billion, paid for with $3 billion in new taxes on small businesses, capital-gains income and real estate. They have also done away with the current property-tax increase cap. One bright spot, however, is that they have finally put forward a budget that is balanced, something that hasn’t happened for the past 4 years.

I do not think that now is the time to raise taxes. Again, the state is already collecting more taxes than expected – $3 billion more. Even with their significant increases in taxes and spending the House majority still fails our students by continuing the inequitable funding of our schools. Their plan actually puts less money into K-12, falling short of our proposal by $500 million.

The House plan funds schools by imposing taxes on daycares, drug and alcohol treatment centers, hospitals, and environmental cleanup. It doesn’t makes sense, considering all the hysteria around affordable health care and protecting our environment, that they would choose to target those industries with a 20-percent increase in taxes.

We don’t know when the House will adopt a budget that it can negotiate with, but it needs to be soon so we can begin working together to find compromise and prioritize the real needs of state government. I hope that one takeaway from the town halls this weekend was my commitment to find solutions that work for the people in our district.

A new way to communicate

Senate rules have recently changed, allowing me to have a legislative Facebook page. Please follow me (@SenatorBarbaraBailey) to receive updates on my work here in Olympia.

Staying in touch

It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with questions or concerns regarding your state government. Please note that my office location in Olympia has changed.

Sincerely,

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Barbara Bailey,

10th District Senator

Contact me

Olympia Office:

407 Legislative Building

P.O. Box 40410, Olympia, WA 98504

Olympia Phone:

360.786.7618

Email:

Barbara.Bailey@leg.wa.gov

Website:

Click Here