The 60-day legislative session is underway. This grand gathering of legislators, citizen activists, legislative staff, lobbyists, state agency officials, and others is amazing to behold. The process runs on the basis of relationships. The coming weeks will be a test of our process.
We have the difficult task of addressing a $1.5 billion budget shortfall—that’s $1.5 billion short of what the state would like to spend. Yet revenue projections for this biennium are up about 6.9 percent, about $2 billion higher than the last biennium.
This week the governor delivered her final State of the State address, which included a proposed sales tax increase. I oppose this. We need to prioritize our spending, reform state government, and work to improve the economy before asking the people of Washington to pay more. The Legislature has an opportunity to pass a sustainable budget and show the taxpayers of Washington that we can live within our means.
Hundreds of bills are now floating around the Capitol campus. Besides the budget, there will be important debates about education reforms like charter schools and teacher performance reviews. We will consider job creation proposals, new transportation revenues, and marriage equality. I would be grateful for your input on these things.
I will be working on several bills this session, including reforms to our higher education institutions, recognition for our veterans, safety protections for our most vulnerable citizens, litter cleanup, and flexibility for local transit agencies.
I hope that you will consider coming to Olympia this session to see the Capitol, testify on a bill, or share your ideas with me in my office, #468 in the newly-remodeled John L. O’Brien Building. Feel free to call on me anytime at 360-786-7968 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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