Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Tomorrow morning, Sen. Sharon Brown, Rep. Brad Klippert and I will be hosting a town hall meeting in Richland at The Arc of Tri-Cities from 9 a.m. to noon. The three of us will be providing a brief update on the legislative session, and then opening it up for questions. There are a lot of important issues to discuss, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on ways we can make our district and state an even better place to live, work and raise a family.
If you're unable to make it tomorrow, please know you can always give me a call at (360) 786-7986 or send me an email. I value and appreciate your feedback, as it helps me to better serve you in the Legislature.
House of Origin cutoff arrives
Last week marked House of Origin cutoff, which means all bills that did not advance out of the chamber in which they were introduced are now considered dead for the session. The only exception to this are bills deemed necessary to implement the budget, or NTIB.
In a short video update I recorded yesterday, I discussed House of Origin cutoff and provided an update on a few of the bills I've co-sponsored this year that are still making their way through the legislative process. I also highlighted a Democrat-sponsored bill that I believe should concern everyone in Washington state. It would impose a low carbon fuel standard program, which would significantly raise the price of gas and the cost of goods for you and your family.
Although many of the bills I co-sponsored this year survived cutoff, the two bills I prime-sponsored did not:
House Bill 2012 would provide an opportunity for all K-12 instructional staff to receive a yearly bonus of about $5,000. I discussed this bill at length in an earlier email update, which you can read here.
House Bill 2111 would strengthen the security of elections in Washington state by eliminating the option to return ballots by fax or email. I've been working closely with the Secretary of State's office, including Secretary Wyman, to ensure we get all the particulars of this bill just right. I'm confident we'll get there, and I expect HB 2111 to be rolled into a comprehensive election security package next year.
Latest revenue forecast reinforces case against tax increases
On Wednesday morning, the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its latest revenue forecast for the state. It brought good news. Compared to November's revenue forecast, revenues are expected to increase by an additional $861 million from now through the middle of 2021.
That means House Democrat budget writers, who are set to release their operating budget proposal on Monday, have at least $3 billion available to fund our shared priorities. Unfortunately, they continue to insist we need new tax revenue. One headline Wednesday morning read, “Washington's hot economy keeps bringing in cash, but Democratic lawmakers say new taxes still needed.”
Tax increases should not be on the table at a time when record revenues are coming in. For some in Olympia, however, no amount of revenue is ever enough.
I hope to see you at our town hall tomorrow morning, but if you're unable to make it, please feel free to reach out to me at (360) 786-7986 or Matt.Boehnke@leg.wa.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.