We are now on day 40 of the 60-day legislative session. Below are a few issue updates from week six of the legislative session, and a brief overview of the governor's newest budget proposal. Again, I want to thank all of you have made the trip to meet with me in Olympia, sent e-mails, letters or called my office on the issues and legislation of importance to you.
Honoring Japanese-American Internees and World War II Veterans:
On Friday, February 19 I was pleased to support House Resolution HR 4689, Recognizing Japanese-American Internees and World War II Veterans. I spoke on the resolution and will have the video posted on my Web site next week and will include it in my weekly update next Friday.
Update on my legislation:
House Bill 2603 would require state agencies to give small businesses an opportunity to comply with an agency rule before imposing a penalty. It passed the House of Representatives unanimously on February 15, and now awaits a public hearing in the Senate.
House Bill 2460 would streamline state laws to better match federal regulations for organic products. It passed the House of Representatives unanimously on February 11, and received a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture & Rural Economic Development on February 18.
My Opposition to the Repeal of Taxpayer Initiative:
Also this week, Senate Bill 6130 (suspending the voter approved Initiative 960) passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 51 to 47. I believe there are ways to protect our core services of government within existing revenues, including our critical safety-net services, education and public safety. You can read my statement on the suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act (I-960) and my alternative to higher taxes here.
The Taxpayer Protection Act (I-960) passed in 2007 with 55.3 percent of the vote in the 10th Legislative District, and 51.2 percent statewide. Current law requires: a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for tax increases; public e-mail notifications for tax increases proposals; and citizen advisory votes on tax increases.
Senate Bill 6130, as passed by the state House, would remove the two-thirds vote requirement of the Legislature and the citizen advisory vote for tax increases immediately after being signed into law by the governor.
There are currently 77 bills in the state House that, when combined, would increase taxes and fees by more than $3 billion in the state's next fiscal year (July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011).
The governor's proposal to close the state's budget gap: A brief summary
Gov. Christine Gregoire proposed $605 million in new taxes Wednesday. You can read more about her proposed tax increases and budget here.
Below are some of the taxes the governor proposed this week:
- Candy and gum: Apply the state sales tax ($28 million)
- Bottled water: A penny per ounce ($135 million)
- Soda: A nickel for a 12-ounce can ($94 million)
- Cigarettes: A dollar more per pack ($89 million)
Here is how the governor wants to close the state's $2.8 billion budget gap:
- New taxes and fees totaling $605 million;
- One-time monies (federal medical assistance, state fund transfers, use of reserves, and Dot Foods legislation) totaling$1.26 billion; and
- Reductions in state government: $967 million.
As always, it is an honor to serve as your state representative here in Olympia. I look forward to your continued input on the issues you care about.