Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Can you believe we are about to close out 2018 and start the first chapter of 2019? What a year it has been! The time is here to shift focus, roll-up my sleeves, and get down to business in preparation for the upcoming 2019 legislative session.
During the interim, I had the opportunity to get out into the beautiful 2nd District and engage with businesses, service organizations, schools, and constituents to gain the best insight into what really matters most, and what areas need the most attention. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to meet with me. Your thoughts and concerns are always at the forefront of the work I do as your representative in Olympia. Heading into session, I won't be “out-and-about” in-district as much, but my door is always open in my office on the Capitol campus. Please come visit me. My legislative assistant, Kendralee Harris, will be happy to set up an appointment. You can reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give my office a ring at (360) 786-7824.
I know your time is valuable. For a quick rundown of what's to come in 2019, including the governor's budget proposal and desire to raise your taxes by $3.7 billion, and my top session priorities, please watch my latest edition of the “Barkis Breakdown.” You can do so by clicking on the photo below. For more in-depth details, please continue reading this legislative update.
It's all about PRIORITIZATION | Gov. Inslee's budget proposal
Recently, the governor rolled out his $54.4 billion budget proposal for the next biennium. Here are some of the key highlights:
- $3.7 billion in new taxes despite record state revenue continuing to come into the state coffers.
- Nine percent capital gains tax; the first step toward a state income tax.
- One percent raise in Business and Occupation (B&O) taxes; hitting our small and service businesses the hardest.
- $1.1 billion toward saving the Southern Resident orcas and salmon protection.
- $400 million toward addressing the state's mental health system.
- $30 million toward combating the state's opioid crisis.
- Modifications to the K-12 education levy cap system.
This budget proposal combines bad policy direction, including asking the taxpayers of Washington state to fork over more of your hard-earned dollars, alongside some good policy direction, including mental health reform, tackling the opioid epidemic, finding solutions for the affordable housing crisis, and forward movement in the statewide broadband efforts. An effective and strong budget is all about prioritizing our responsibilities. There is still a lot of work to do to ensure the state's operating budget benefits, rather than harms, the people of this state.
For more on my direct response to the governor's budget proposal, listen to my interview with Dori Monson on KIRO Radio by clicking here. You may also watch my interview with KING5 TV by clicking here.
The 2019 legislative session | A glimpse into my priorities
Here is a glimpse into my priorities and areas of focus for the upcoming session:
- Housing affordability and homelessness – I want to keep people in their homes. Stay tuned for future updates on my “eviction prevention package” I will be unveiling when session officially begins. This will be a package of bills dealing with landlord-tenant reform and the eviction notification process. I will also keep the forward momentum moving on the bipartisan work we've done over the last few years to hopefully bring relief to this massive crisis.
- Enhancing current statue and my efforts to better the opportunities for the disabled to obtain and use statewide hunting and fishing licenses. For a recap of these efforts last session, click here.
- Fiscal conservancy. We need to protect the 4-year balanced budget, and hold the line against new taxes. With an additional $4 billion in revenue, the state needs to live within its means, save for a rainy day, and stop increased revenue generation and spending on the backs of the taxpayer.
Here are my committee assignments for the 2019 session:
- Transportation (Ranking Republican)
- Consumer Protection and Business
- Housing, Community Development and Veterans
I'm humbled and honored by the faith House Republican leadership has put in my ability to serve as the ranking member of the Transportation Committee. This leadership opportunity puts me at the forefront to help address the major transportation issues affecting this state including traffic and congestion problems, skyrocketing fuel prices, Sound Transit and high car-tab fees, and prioritizing spending on major projects.
It's going to be a fast-paced, 105-day regular session. I will continue to work hard for the 2nd District, and everyone in our great state.
From my family to yours, here's wishing you a happy holiday season, a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!
It's an honor to serve you!