Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are two weeks into the 2011 session and things are moving fast and frantic. I have once again been chosen by my colleagues to serve as the ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee. I'm also the assistant ranking Republican on the Technology, Energy and Communications Committee and I serve on the Education Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee. (The Rules Committee determines which bills come to the House floors for consideration by the full house.”)
The main issue again this year is the nearly-$5 billion budget shortfall for the 2011-13 biennium. Previous budget deficits were solved with one-time bailout money from the federal government, a smattering of tax increases, fund transfers and delayed payments. Many of my colleagues and I disagreed with these short-sighted, unsustainable tactics and warned that we would continue to have budget problems unless we come up with long-term, sustainable solutions. And here we are again – only this year, there is no federal bailout money and the taxpayers have once again (and rightly so) said 'no' to new taxes.
While some are shrinking away from the very difficult decisions that need to be made in Olympia, I believe this is an incredible opportunity to reset government. This session can't just be about the numbers on a calculator; if we fail to fundamentally change the way government does business we'll be right down this road again in the very near future.
Getting families working again
To me, one of the highest priorities this session must be getting people back to work.
The budget, and getting government spending under control, will take a huge amount of our time and efforts. But we must not forget the people that have been impacted these last few years by the recession. We need to keep them at the forefront of our decisions in Olympia and implement policies that remove barriers for entrepreneurs. We need to give employers a chance to lead us out of our economic malaise and enable you to go back to work.
I hope you'll contact me with your thoughts and ideas throughout the session on how we can balance our budget and help get people back to work. It is an honor to represent your voice in Olympia.
427A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7908 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000