Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now in a second 30-day special session because an agreement on the 2015-17 operating budget has not yet been reached. Both the House Democrats and Senate Republicans recently released updated budget proposals, however, and continue to edge closer to an agreement. Instead of asking for $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes, House Democrats are now asking for $550 million. While I don't support any new or increased taxes, that is a positive step forward.
May's revenue forecast showed the state will have $3.2 billion in new revenue for the 2015-17 budget cycle — a 9.2 percent increase from the last budget cycle. Even Gov. Inslee is now saying massive tax increases aren't needed. We should not be doing anything, such as raising taxes, that could jeopardize our state's economic growth by putting a damper on investment and job creation. We need to instead be focused on encouraging growth and continued investment in our economy.
Senate Republicans have shown through their budget proposals that we can live within our means as a state while funding our priorities. We can invest more than $1.3 billion in education, fund teacher COLAs, reduce class sizes, lower tuition, improve our mental health system, and more.
We have passed many bills and made significant progress on several issues this year. It's now time for the two sides to come together to pass a long-term, sustainable operating budget that doesn't raise taxes.
Back in the 13th district
I recently had the opportunity to attend several events in district. The first was the Washington Airport Management Association's annual meeting, where I addressed the group at the Davenport Hotel and updated them on my House Bill 1526. It was great to spend some time with my fellow aviators.
Later that night, I was honored to speak to the students at the Washington State High School Rodeo Association's annual banquet. I talked about the value of rodeo and how they should look at every experience in life as an opportunity to learn and grow. I also shared about how rodeo is a great teacher. It teaches the value of success and failure, and also teaches how to best work as a team. We are in good hands with these kids as our future leaders. What a great group.
I also attended two parades over the Memorial Day weekend — one in Easton and the other in Moses Lake, where I was honored to carry the state flag. It was great to see family and friends as we honored our fallen heroes.
From left to right: posing for a photo with the 'I Love Lucy' ladies at the Easton parade; With my wife (middle) and friends at the Washington State High School Rodeo Association's annual banquet; Carrying the Washington state flag at the Moses Lake parade.
Please continue to get in touch with me with any comments, questions or concerns. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone number is (360) 786-7932 in Olympia and (509) 766-6682 at my district office in Moses Lake.
It is an honor to serve you.