Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We interrupt your normally scheduled conclusion of the 2016 legislative session to bring you the following … Another special session!
On March 10, the journey through the 60-day regular legislative session concluded. We accomplished some great things for Washingtonians during the regular session including:
- Saving our public charter schools
- Passing a supplemental transportation budget
- Pay increases for Washington State Patrol troopers
- Washington Cybercrime Act
Unfortunately after all the hard work during session, we were immediately called into a special session over disagreements with House Democrats on their fiscally irresponsible supplemental operating budget. Our focus should remain:
- making minor adjustments based on caseload changes;
- funding emergencies; and
- addressing any opportunities that won't be available next biennium.
These criteria were met in the Senate budget, offered by Senate Republicans, and agreed upon by House Republicans. House Democrats offered a spending package that puts more money into failing state agencies without reforms in place, drains the “rainy day” fund, backtracks on funding K-3 classroom size reductions, and raises taxes by $120 million.
Their current strategy misses the mark of simplicity and common sense in our efforts to pass a supplemental budget. With revenue forecasts coming in lower than anticipated, fiscal responsibility needs to be at the forefront of this budget process. Budgets aren't just about numbers. They reflect the values we believe need to be upheld in financing our obligations responsibly rather than growing the size of state government.
A supplemental budget that is fiscally sound should be easily agreed upon across party lines. It is unnecessary to hold a special session to reach a simple budget agreement and do what is necessary to operate our state within our means. Stay tuned!
In my recent video update, I dive into the details of what special session means, give you insight into the accomplishments of session and the issues surrounding the supplemental operating budget. I also provide you with my plans for the upcoming interim.
As always, I thank you for taking the time to read my legislative email updates. Please share these updates with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe. I welcome you to share your thoughts on the issues I covered in this update, and any other issues important to you, your family, and your business. Please feel free to call my office at 360-786-7824 or email me.
It's an honor to serve you.