Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The final week of session is upon us and there is plenty of work yet to be done. Unfortunately, it looks as though special session is likely. We are working diligently to negotiate final agreements on the budget, basic education and most importantly a solution for the Hirst decision. I realize that special sessions are frustrating for a myriad of reasons. But, I would like to remind folks that the major reasons for these special sessions is to fight back the billions of dollars sought in tax increase proposals. This year’s tax package passed by the House Finance Committee recommends the state institute a capital gains tax, increase B&O taxes to 20% among other things. That proposal would increase taxes by $8 billion over 4 years. Repeatedly, folks back home have said the state should live within its means. If a special session is necessary to ensure these tax proposals do not see the light of day, then so be it!
It has now been 50 days since we passed Senate Bill 5239 which restores a cooperative relationship between counties and the state when dealing with water rights issues.
This critical piece of legislation would allow landowners and businesses to develop their property, bringing more jobs back to rural Washington.
House Democrats failed to move SB 5239 out of committee and Governor Inslee called finding a solution “a distraction.”
The Hirst decision threatens to destroy economies in rural Washington. That is not a distraction.
This is a complex issue that will require Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate to work together in order to find a solution that will help us amply fund basic education, protect residential water rights and ensure the stability of rural economies for years to come.
The media is starting to take notice, understanding that this is an issue that will have catastrophic impacts statewide. Just last week, KOMO News reported the story of one family whose dream of building a home for their family has been crushed by the Hirst Decision.
Watch and share this short video that gives a brief overview of the Hirst decision, where we are now and where I hope to be when a final deal is reached.
I had the honor of sponsoring Olivia Harnack as a Senate page. Olivia is a 9th grader from St. Mary School and was one of 22 students who served as Senate pages during the 12th week session.
I am so glad that Olivia was able to make the trip to Olympia; it was great to have her help with some of the work we do here. I was so impressed with her poise and enjoyed the enthusiasm she had for learning about our Capitol’s history while she was here.
The Senate Page Program is an opportunity for Washington students to spend a week working in the Legislature. Students are responsible for transporting documents between offices, as well as delivering messages and mail. Pages spend time in the Senate chamber and attend page school to learn about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. Students also draft their own bills and engage in a mock session.
Contact My Office
If you have any comments, questions or concerns about the questions above or any other issues of interest please do not hesitate to call, write or email my office. Again, it is a tremendous honor to represent the people of the 7th District.
Phone: (360) 786-7612
Mail: P.O. Box 40407
Olympia, Washington 98504-0407