Dear Friends and Neighbors,
There are 23 days left of the 2015 legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 26. In the next three weeks, you'll likely see a lot of floor action as the Legislature works to pass a sustainable budget so we can adjourn on time. I'm confident we can finish in these next 23 days.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me this session to share their views on issues before the state. I appreciate all of your phone calls, emails and letters, and it's great to see people actively participate in their state government. Your involvement is important.
If you have a question, comment or concern you'd like to share, please don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com or call me at (360) 786-7898.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
House, Senate release budget proposals
As you may have heard, House Democrats released their 2015-17 operating budget proposal last week. That proposal passed off the House floor last night. I want to take this opportunity to give you some key information about this proposal. You can access all of the documents related to the budget by clicking here.
This proposal includes nearly $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes, including a 5% capital gains (income) tax, another increase in the B&O tax rate that could affect thousands of businesses, and eliminating some tax incentives. It raises state spending by $5.1 billion. The four-year outlook projects spending to reach $43 billion. It would also eliminate the voter-approved state spending limit.
The Senate also released its 2015-17 operating budget proposal. You can read more about it here. This budget would not raise taxes and still fulfills our McCleary education funding obligation, along with funding other important programs.
As negotiations develop, it's important to remember the state is expecting $3 billion — a 9 percent increase — more in revenue for this budgeting cycle. That's a significant increase. With that much more revenue, it's difficult to ask hardworking individuals and families for even more of their hard-earned dollars.
The House passed the capital budget last night as well. I supported this budget and also serve on the House Capital Budget committee. You can learn more about the projects in your area funded by this budget by clicking here and searching under the 30th Legislative District.
We are expected to debate the 2015 transportation budget proposal next week on the House floor.
As budget negotiations progress, I'll be sure to keep you updated.
Meet my intern, Tori Benson
Throughout session, Eastern Washington University senior Tori Benson has been assisting my office with research, answering messages, tracking legislation and other administrative tasks. She's been a tremendous help and it has been a privilege to work with her this session.
Tori aspires to pursue a career as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State once she finishes her studies.
If you want to learn more about the legislative internship program, click here. Applications for the 2016 session are due in the fall.
122F Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7898 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000