Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is officially spring! The rain is beginning to subside, and the sun is becoming a more permanent presence in our days. It is shaping up to be another sensational season in the Pacific Northwest. I hope you and your family have the opportunity to get out there and enjoy everything our beautiful district, and state, has to offer!
Since the Legislature adjourned on March 8, I have had the chance to get out into the 2nd District, and it sure feels good to be back! In this email update, I will give you a quick rundown of what has been going on.
End of session wrap-up
The 2018 session brought many hits and misses. Here are a few highlights.
- We held the line against new tax increases including a proposed 7 percent capital gains income tax, and a $3.3 billion carbon and energy tax.
- We protected property rights by passing a Hirst water solution that preserves the right of rural property owners to drill household wells.
- We passed the 2017-19 capital budget providing important funding for projects across our state. More than $20 million in local 2nd District projects were secured in the capital budget, and another $3 million in the 2018 supplemental capital budget. For a complete list of projects, click here.
- Despite over $2.3 billion in increases state revenue over the next four years, the Legislature provided no property tax relief in 2018, and only a small one-time amount in 2019.
- The final budget spends all but $103 million out of the projected $50.4 billion budget in 2021. It also fails to set aside an adequate reserve in the state's “rainy day fund.” This is poor fiscal responsibility.
- The Legislature provided no relief for manufacturers from high business and occupation (B&O) tax rates.
For more session highlights, please watch the latest edition of “The Barkis Breakdown.” Simply click on the photo below.
2018 Legislative Update | Newsletter
My seatmate, Rep. J.T. Wilcox, and I believe in the importance of keeping you up-to-date on what's happening in Olympia. If you have not received your 2018 Legislative Update newsletter, it should be hitting your mailbox soon.
You can also read the digital version by clicking here.
Proclamation by the Governor (gypsy moth)
Recently, Gov. Inslee declared a state of emergency due to the imminent danger of an infestation of the non-native plant pest, the European gypsy moth. This proclamation is important because approximately 300 acres in Graham are in jeopardy due to this pest, which can seriously endanger our agricultural and horticultural industries.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture will conduct aerial spraying in an effort to control the moth. I will keep you update on this issue as it continues to evolve.
University of Washington – Bothell | Legislative Panel
Recently, I had the honor of participating on a legislative panel, with my colleague Rep. Paul Graves, at the University of Washington – Bothell. We had the opportunity to discuss the current issues facing the Legislature, including one of my key priorities surrounding affordable housing. My discussion focused around my concern on the limited options and availability of affordable housing, and the need for the state to reform the outdated Growth Management Act (GMA), and the restraints placed on where housing developments can be built.
As the ranking Republican on the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee, I will continue to work hard during the interim to look for innovate ideas to address the housing supply shortage, to remove the regulatory burdens driving up housing costs, and helping local authorities find better financial resources. I want to head into the 2019 legislative session with bipartisan, long-term solutions to this complex issue that we can hopefully move forward as legislation. I will keep you posted!
What's next? | Election year restrictions
Because this is an election year, I will be restricted from sending out any more legislative communications this year. The election-year freeze begins on May 14.
However, I am allowed to respond to your emails, phone calls and messages. I am also not restricted from having in-person meetings with you, so please continue to reach out to me as you normally would.
My email address is email@example.com and my phone number is (360) 786-7824.
It's an honor to serve you!