Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you are able to enjoy a wonderful Christmas and holiday season with family and friends. It's hard to believe that another legislative session is just around the corner. With that in mind, here are four things you need to know about the 2018 legislative session:
ONE: There is no more Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. One-party rule is back in Olympia with Democrats controlling the governor's mansion, the House of Representatives and, after a special election last month, the Senate. What does this mean? Look for more Seattle-centric policies and priorities to come to the forefront. I hate to say it, folks, but Seattle-area legislators are running things now. And with that comes the Seattle social and tax agenda:
- Adding “gender X” to birth certificates, which includes intersex, agender, amalgagender, androgynous, bigender, demigender, genderfluid, genderqueer, neutrois, nonbinary, pangender, third sex, transgender, or Two Spirit.
- Government-sponsored safe heroin injection sites.
- Putting as many Obamacare policies into state law as possible.
- Attempts to implement an income tax.
- Further attacks on small businesses via higher minimum wages and mandatory paid vacation and sick leave.
- Further attempts to breach more Washington dams.
- Full implementation of the Vehicle Miles Travelled tax.
- Attempts to eliminate the state's four-year balanced budget outlook requirement.
TWO: Gov. Jay Inslee's Carbon Tax! The governor released his supplemental budget last week and as many of us feared, it included a $1.5 billion carbon tax on employers. He said he would release more details next month. He also wants to take nearly a billion dollars from the state's Rainy Day Fund to spend on education. This is after almost doubling the money the state spends on K-12 education in a ten-year period.
Washington state taxpayers are sending plenty of money to Olympia. There is no need for a carbon tax or to take money from the state's Rainy Day Fund, which should only be used during economic downturns or for serious emergencies.
THREE: Do Seattle liberals even want a Hirst solution? That's a serious question. They've been saying they want to work together to find a Hirst solution but the proposals they put forward are nonstarters. They're not really solutions; they just continue the practice of turning over all Washington state water to a special interest. The governor's most recent proposal (heard in a joint special committee last week, but NOT available to the public yet) would limit new, previously-exempt wells to 350 gallons of indoor use per day and cost homeowners at a minimum $1,500 and potentially much more. Can you imagine the uproar in urban areas if that new condo on the waterfront or the new home in a development had a 350 gallon indoor limit? The Hirst decision may very well be the biggest rural/urban issue of our time with massive amount of economic activity being lost due to the state Supreme Court's overreach.
FOUR: There is a leadership vacuum in this state. While questions remain whether or not Gov. Inslee is pursuing a run at his party's presidential nomination for 2020, it sure looks like he's focusing his time and energy on national issues while things in this Washington get neglected. And, our Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, seems intent on suing anybody he disagrees with as he potentially seeks to replace Inslee as governor. We have a serious leadership vacuum here in our state in the executive branch. With the upcoming session scheduled to last only 60 days, it will be interesting to see if that lack of leadership leads to another special session.
There will be plenty more issues of concern during the 2018 legislative session. That's why I need to continue to hear from you. I'm here to listen, learn and reflect your concerns in my actions and how I vote on legislation in Olympia. Please continue to contact me with your thoughts and opinions on these and other issues. It is an honor and privilege to represent you in the state Legislature.