Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This weekend, we are expecting to debate the majority party's proposed supplemental operating budget: Senate Bill 5693.
Thanks to a huge, unexpected, surge in state revenue, the state now has a four-year $15 billion surplus.
The majority party and House Republicans have different plans for what to do with this surplus. The majority is proposing to increase spending by 10.5% on new and existing government programs. They believe the best way to help Washingtonians is by spending more money on targeted state services. Meanwhile, House Republicans have a framework to fund essential services and deliver meaningful tax relief to Washington families and businesses.
Over the past year, the rate of inflation has reached a 40-year high, and folks are struggling to keep up with the cost of living, from housing to childcare. In fact, inflation is costing the average household an extra $250 per month. That's why I support returning money to the taxpayers. We should pass a permanent 1% cut to the sales tax (a bipartisan idea), provide for a property tax rebate, and reduce business and occupation taxes.
With a historic surplus, there's no reason why we can't give money back to hardworking families and, at the same time, maintain healthy funding for state services.
I encourage you to watch the debate live this weekend on tvw.org.
Fighting against new costs to businesses
Last week, we had a nine-hour debate over a bill that would impose new costs on businesses. House Bill 1837.
I voted no.
The bill did ultimately pass by a slim 50-48 vote. It overturns a 2003 voter initiative that prohibits state ergonomic regulations that go beyond federal OSHA regulations, making it more expensive to hire employees in Washington state.
You can watch highlights of the debate here:
The bill is now in the Senate Rules Committee where it could be scheduled for a vote soon.
Thank you to those who attended the virtual town hall with me and Sen. Wagoner last Saturday! It was wonderful to hear from constituents.
You can always contact me directly.
It's an honor to serve you!