Thank you for subscribing to my e-mail updates, and for allowing me to communicate with you on the issues I am working on in Olympia. I invite you to view my Web site to find bills I've sponsored and co-sponsored, my bi-weekly video updates and other information you may find of interest.
As we reach the halfway point in the 2010 legislative session, I'm extremely concerned with the direction majority leadership has taken thus far. Rather than doing the serious work needed to prioritize and restructure government while staying within current revenues to pay for essential services, their efforts are focused on finding new money.
In my Capital Budget Committee, bills are passing that would work around or exceed the constitutional debt limit. In my Economic Development Committee, bills are moving forward that would create new taxing authorities. In my Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, bills are passing that increase fees on Washingtonians. The message I am hearing from our families, communities and small businesses back home is that they are struggling in this difficult economy and can't afford more tax and fee increases.
The proposal that frustrates me the most is Senate Bill 6843. This legislation would suspend Initiative 960, which requires a 2/3 vote of the Legislature, or a simple majority (50 plus one) vote in Legislature and a vote of the people, to raise or implement new taxes. I am troubled Senate leadership is considering measures to suspend a voter-approved initiative in a rushed process, and doing so because they know they lack the votes in the House and Senate to pass new taxes on the people of Washington. I am also concerned with the timeline of the bill, and would urge you to read my February 4 press release on the issue.
The 163,400 jobs lost in the private sector since January of 2008 needs to be our focus right now. The only sustainable option to adequately support our essential services of government is creating an environment in Washington state that allows employers to put people back to work. That is why this year I've introduced legislation to help our small businesses. I am also supporting a package called “Made in Washington” and would encourage you to view the ideas and legislation in the plan.
Next week, my e-mail update will focus on the King County Superior Court ruling regarding basic education, as well as the several public safety bills making their way through the Legislature.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my update. I encourage you to forward my update to any of your friends and family who may be interested. I look forward to working with you in the future, and hope you have a lovely weekend.