Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's budget season, and unfortunately, taxpayers may wind up on the losing end when all is said and done. The House Democrats' 2019-21 operating budget proposal, which was recently introduced, would not only increase spending by $8.5 billion, but would also increase taxes to the tune of $4.2 billion.
We currently have record revenues and a $3 billion surplus. To spend every dime of that revenue is wrong, as is asking you for more via new and higher taxes, especially when you have said 'no' time and time again at the ballot box.
Take a look at the spending chart below. If the House Democrats' budget proposal is enacted, the Legislature will have increased state spending by 70% since 2013. That's unconscionable.
When the budget came to the floor for a vote late last month, a number of Republican amendments were accepted by the majority party. Even so, we couldn't support a plan that spends and taxes far too much, and also leaves us vulnerable in the event a recession. Below are some highlights of our floor speeches during the debate:
While the Senate Democrats' operating budget proposal is a little more reasonable, it still irresponsibly increases spending and raises taxes. As majority party budget negotiators work on a final budget, it is my hope common sense will win the day and that we will pass a sustainable and fiscally responsible plan.
90 seconds with TVW
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with TVW to record a short video for their 'Legislator Profiles' series. I hope you'll take 90 seconds to learn a little bit more about me:
Sponsoring local students Grant Robertson and Johnathon Rexus as House pages
One of the many things I enjoy about my job is having the opportunity to sponsor local students as pages here in the state House. Grant Robertson (pictured left) attends Chief Joseph Middle School in Richland, while Johnathon Rexus (pictured right) attends Kamiakin High School in Kennewick.
During their time here in Olympia, Grant and Johnathon attended page school every day to learn about the three branches of state government, the lawmaking process, and the importance of civil discourse. They also carried out a number of duties critical to the efficient operation of the Legislature. I really appreciated their help throughout the week, and want to thank them for being civic-minded and willing to learn about how their state government works!
Honoring Mariner great and Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez
If you're anything like me, one of your favorite Mariners memories is Edgar Martinez lining a double down the left field line to score Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr., sending the Mariners to the American League Championship Series.
Well, that was just one of thousands of highlights in Edgar's illustrious career—a career that was capped with his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January.
Earlier this month, the state Senate honored Edgar with a resolution, which you can read here. He also visited all four caucuses to say hello and take photos, which is something I'll remember for a long time.
Thanks, Edgar, and go Mariners! By the way, who saw 13-2 coming?
My new legislative Facebook page
Legislative ethics rules somewhat limit how we can communicate with constituents on social media, so I decided to sign up for a new legislative Facebook pilot program that was launched earlier this year. This new page will allow me to communicate even more effectively with you, so I invite you to 'like' it by clicking on the image below. Thank you to the almost 300 of you who have already done so!
Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions or concerns about particular bills or anything else that's on your mind. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my phone number is (360) 786-7986.
It is an honor to serve you.