Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2021 session continues to move full steam ahead. This remote session has been very difficult, especially for the freshman legislators, like me. However, we continue to do the work of the people to the very best of our ability, and we continue to push to make your voices heard.
Before I update you on all the things going on in the Legislature, I want to say thank you again for your support, and for allowing me to represent you. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I am grateful and honored you have placed your trust in me.
Budget and Taxes
This past Monday we hit our policy cut-off point, which was the deadline for bills to pass out of committee in their house of origin, except for fiscal committees. We now turn our attention to voting on numerous bills with the full House. The next two weeks will be jam-packed with floor session and we will be tackling some very controversial bills, as well as the new operating budget for the next biennium.
Coming into this session, establishing a new operating budget was one of the Republican's top priorities. Our goal was to implement a sustainable budget that would enable the state to continue funding important programs and services, without raising your taxes. Not only does the House Republican budget not include any new taxes, but it also reduces them by $445 million.
The state does not need more of your money to fund its programs, and our budget lays out very clearly how we can help all Washingtonians, without increasing your tax burden. Click here to see the entire House Republican budget plan.
This budget offers real solutions to the problems we face, and it provides real opportunities for the entire state. This includes reducing unnecessary bureaucracy, fixing inefficient structures, eliminating programs that aren't working, and replacing bad policies with better ones. Additionally, it breaks a cycle of unsustainable spending increases, which have averaged 16% over three biennia.
Our proposal is designed to help those who need it the most, including the following:
- Funds the Working Families Tax Credit for the first time in its 12-year history ($600M)
- Sales tax exemption for basic necessities, like prepared food and diapers ($293M)
- $300 stipends to low-income families to defray cost of remote learning ($160M)
- Grants and higher rates for child care providers; copay assistance for families ($114M)
- Increased federal allocations to school districts, contingent on reopening ($156M)
- Equitable enrichment funding for charter and tribal schools ($44M)
- Learning “catch up,” prioritized for historically disadvantaged populations ($500M)
- Additional STEM enrollment slots at state universities and community colleges ($30M)
- Flexible, ongoing homelessness funding for cities and counties that clean up encampments near schools, parks and playgrounds and ban injection sites ($736M)
- Investments in community behavioral health, triple the Governor's proposal ($225M)
- Rate increases for providers of developmental disability/long-term care (DD/LTC), behavioral health, and primary care ($430M)
- Replenishes unemployment insurance (UI) fund to replace fraud losses and mitigate skyrocketing UI taxes ($500M)
- Temporary B&O tax relief for restaurants and other hard-hit businesses ($94M)
- Authorizes B&O, property tax and liquor fee deferrals for small businesses
- Boosts funding for the state's tourism marketing campaign ($12M)
All of Washington
- No new taxes on anyone or anything
- Additional funds for foundational public health without taxing health insurance ($300M)
- Funds DNR's forest health management plan, reducing wildfires and pollution ($260M)
- Maximizes production at state and tribal hatcheries to support fish populations ($12M)
It is imperative to continue the fight against irresponsible tax bills introduced in 2021 that will hurt small businesses and families that are struggling because of the extended shutdown. Our budget proposal offers real solutions to the problems our state is facing, and it would help all Washingtonians.
Are We in for Some SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES?
I've also been hard at work trying to stop some terrible bills coming out of the Environment and Energy Committee, namely House Bill 1084. This bill would kill jobs throughout the state and could wipe out the entire natural gas industry. We need to stop this bill. Please let everyone you know about the damaging consequences of this bill, and encourage them to reach out to legislators in their respective districts and voice their concerns. Click on the image below to learn why this bill is so bad. You can also click here to read an op-ed I wrote for the Dayton Chronicle and the Prosser Record-Bulletin laying out why this legislation would hurt you and the entire state.
Please Stay in Touch
Thank you again for reaching out to me. I wish we could meet in-person and hope we can do that very soon. In the meantime, please continue to make your voice heard and please continue reaching out to me. You can still be a part of this legislative session. If you want to testify regarding any bill or other important public policy or issue that will be addressed, just use these links to sign up:
You can also contact me via email, phone, or over Zoom. I'm happy to meet with you and discuss your concerns. Thank you for allowing me to represent you.