Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Only 20 days remaining of the scheduled 60-day legislative session. In the past two weeks, we've been working long and late hours debating and passing House bills to the Senate and trying to stop some very bad legislation. At the end of the house of origin cutoff Wednesday, 318 bills had passed the House and were sent to the Senate. The Senate passed 267 bills. That's out of 1,794 bills introduced since Jan. 13, the first day of the 2020 session.
Budget, revenue and tax relief
As we begin the process of hearing Senate bills in our House committees, budget writers are already working to craft supplemental operating, transportation and capital budgets, which are expected to be released by majority Democrats next week.
Earlier this week, we received news that the state is overflowing with your tax dollars. The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its quarterly report. During the remainder of the current budget cycle that ends June 30, 2021, the state is expected to collect an additional $606 million. During the 2021-23 budget cycle, an extra $536 million is anticipated. That's more than $1.1 billion in new revenue without tax increases, bringing the state budget surplus to nearly $2.4 billion.
While the Puget Sound economy is booming, there are other parts of the state in which working families struggle to make ends meet. With such a bloated surplus, shouldn't the state give some of that money back?
I joined with the other 39 members of the House Republican Caucus this week to sponsor House Bill 2946, which would provide $1 billion in tax relief to Washington's working families.
The measure would lower car tabs to $30, just as voters wanted when they passed Initiative 976 in November. The initiative remains on hold while being challenged in the courts, which means the $30 car tabs are suspended. Our legislation would provide an IMMEDIATE reduction of the car tab fees, as opposed to waiting for the courts to work it out. House Bill 2946 would also eliminate the sales tax on prepared food items and personal necessities, such as hygiene products.
Property tax bills will be in the mail soon and many people will experience sticker shock. I also support meaningful property tax relief, and we are looking at additional ways to reduce these property tax burdens for you as well.
Parents speak out against comprehensive sex education bill
Nearly 700 people came to Olympia Thursday to attend and testify on Senate Bill 5395, a measure that would mandate comprehensive sex education be taught in all grades, kindergarten through 12th grade, in Washington's public schools. Although there was only just over an hour for public testimony in the House Education Committee, the majority who signed in indicated strong opposition to the Senate Bill 5395.
I have been a vocal opponent against the measure, primarily because state government is deciding what's best for children, not parents. I'm extremely concerned with many aspects of the curricula school districts may use that is graphic.
I appreciate the show of force against this bad legislation. I encourage citizens' continued involvement so that we can stop this bill long before it reaches the governor's desk.
Join me tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 22) in Vancouver for a town hall meeting!
I will be voting on hundreds of bills during the final two weeks of the 2020 session. That's why I'm holding a town hall meeting this weekend, because I want to hear from you.
Please join me tomorrow, Feb. 22, from 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon at Washington State University's Dengerink Building Lecture Hall. The address is 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver. Mark your calendar, and bring your questions and comments to the town hall meeting! I hope to see you there!
Contact my office
While the Legislature is in session, I maintain my office in Olympia. After we adjourn, I plan to re-open the 17th District office in Vancouver. I will have more information in future updates. For now, please call, write or email my office in Olympia. My contact information is below.
It is an honor to serve and represent you!