Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Telephone Town Hall
Your 7th District legislators are holding another telephone town hall. Please join Sen. John Smith, Rep. Joel Kretz and me on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m. for a “community conversation.” It's a great time to get feedback from you and for us to keep you informed. Just dial 1-877-229-8493 on Tuesday evening and enter pin number 15429 when prompted. I hope you are able to join us!
I'm disappointed the Legislature was unable to finish its work on time and that we are once again heading towards a special session. Again, I don't think the governor did us any favors by changing his stance on tax increases. Instead of knowing exactly how much money the state has to spend, and then living within our means just like every family and employer in the state has to, Democrat budget writers in the House and in the governor's office are debating with themselves which taxes to raise and by how much.
In fact, here's a quick look at the taxes that passed off the House floor last week (without one Republican vote):
- $534 million – Would permanently extend the business and occupation (B&O) surtax on certain businesses.
- $14.6 million – B&O tax rates for travel agents.
- $51.5 million – Would place sales and use tax on bottled water. This is the same tax that was repealed by voters in 2010.
- $43 million – Would repeal the nonresident sales and use tax exemption. This could especially hit our border counties very hard along the Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia borders.
- $78.7 million – B&O taxes for high-tech research and development.
- $63.2 million – Public utility tax on truck transport of goods in state that are destined for out of state.
- $24.1 million – B&O and sales and use taxes for import commerce.
- $29 million – B&O tax for sellers of prescription drugs.
- $40.8 million – Fuel tax for extracted fuel.
- $5.2 million – Handling losses fuel tax.
TOTAL: $879 million
I was extremely proud to join my House Republican colleagues in a major battle on the House floor against these unnecessary tax increases. If you want to see some of the video highlights of our floor speeches and why we don't think taxes are necessary, click here.
If the governor had stuck to his campaign pledge of “no new taxes,” budget writers would be spending their time determining what goes IN the sandbox (the budget) instead of wringing their hands on the SIZE of the sandbox. If you want to view my latest video update about the budget, taxes and the special session, click here.
I'm very pleased to report to you that my two bills to bring more accountability and transparency to the state Departments of Ecology and Fish and Wildlife passed the Legislature and were signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee last week! It was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. These two bills were years in the making and took collaboration on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers of the Legislature. To read more about these two bills, read my press release here.
DFW makes “emergency rule” – allows livestock and pet owners to protect themselves!
After months of negotiations and legislative public hearings about how to address threats posed by gray wolves in northeast and north central Washington, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission this week adopted an emergency rule that allows people to lethally remove a gray wolf without a permit in order to protect their property, pets and livestock.
The change to the state's wolf-conservation and -management plan was spurred by a letter sent to the commission earlier this week, which asked for consideration of the proposed rule. The letter was signed by 10 state legislators, including the 7th District delegation that has worked tirelessly for months on wolf-related bills that became the subject of heated debates throughout the course of this legislative session. I'm proud of the efforts by Sen. Smith, Rep. Kretz and my colleagues in Olympia for pressing this issue. In the end, DFW had no choice but to realize they need to let folks protect their livestock, their pets and themselves.
If you want to read the press release we sent out on this issue, click here.
If you want to read The Spokesman-Review article, click here.
Thanks again for reading my e-newsletter. I'll continue to keep you updated as best I can throughout the special session.
427A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7908 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000