Dear Friends and Neighbors
We have reached the point in the legislative session where we are busy with floor action – passing bills out of the Senate Chamber and moving them along in the legislative process over to the House of Representatives. As floor leader, I spend many hours in the Senate chamber helping to navigate debate as bills come up for a vote and ensuring that many differing voices and positions on legislation are heard.
Floor action continues until March 9th. If you want to watch legislation being passed, go to https://www.tvw.org/ for more information.
Republican budget proposal – we don’t need to raise your taxes
Recently, the Senate Republican lead on the Ways and Means Committee, Lynda Wilson, shared our caucus’ operating budget proposal for 2021-23. I want to share some of those highlights with you but the most important takeaway from this budget is that it will not cut services and will not increase your taxes! When you hear the Democratic majority say that we need to increase taxes to pass our state’s operating budget, it simply isn’t true; we just did it. Some of the highlights include:
- Increasing the transportation budget without tax increases by adding the sales tax revenue on vehicles to that fund
- Assists schools with COVID related expenses and incentives to encourage re-opening
- Additional funding for small business assistance
- Eliminates the B&O tax on manufacturing
- Increased funding for behavioral health in the form of increased provider rates, community bed capacity and mental health response teams
- Annual rate increase for nursing homes to better reflect true costs
- Increase funding into the DD Community Trust Account for the developmentally disabled
- Helps reduce the catastrophic wildfires we’ve seen by funding the Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health Plan – which proposes treating 1.25 million acres in the coming years
- Provides $200 million to the state Broadband Office
- Reduces the tax burden for working families by as much as $1,000 per year to help offset recently passed taxes that have burdened local and middle-income families.