Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank those of you who were able to join us at our telephone town hall last night. We had nearly 2,200 participants. Our operators took 36 questions from constituents and we were able to go live with 13 of you. That's not bad for a one-hour community conversation in a district the size of ours. Thank you for participating and for staying involved in your state government. Your concerns and opinions are important to us as we represent you in Olympia.
Also, here are the results of our poll questions:
Knowing that our state is seeing record tax collections and has more than $5 billion in additional revenue compared to the last time our two-year budget was written, do you support a plan by Gov. Inslee and majority Democrats to impose additional taxes and increased government spending?
YES = 7.4%
NO = 92.6%
Do you support efforts to eliminate the death penalty from state law?
YES = 8.3%
NO = 91.7%
Do you support the “check-the-box” presidential primary, where voters MUST declare they are Republican or Democrat?
YES = 8.5%
NO = 91.5%
State revenue forecast shows record – but unsustainable – tax collections
The March revenue forecast from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) this week gave budget writers in Olympia great news: record tax collections continue. The ERFC is a nonpartisan, independent agency created by legislation signed into law by then-Gov. John Spellman in 1984. The information provided by the ERFC is crucial for legislators as we write budgets and try to live within our means.
The March revenue forecast was up considerably, providing about $1.4 billion more over the current and upcoming budget period. This revenue update, combined with recent caseload declines, means the state has a surplus of almost $3 billion over the next four years.
To put this historic state revenue growth into perspective, consider this: The last time the Legislature sat down to write its two-year budget in March of 2017, the ERFC said the state would have $41.597 billion. Last week, almost exactly two years later, that number is $50.555 billion. Do the math. That's an increase of $9 billion!
For any legislator or governor to say we need to raise taxes would be disingenuous to hardworking families and disconnected from reality. We have more than enough tax dollars to fix Gov. Inslee's broken mental health system, invest more into special education and other obligations – and still have money to provide a property tax reduction to seniors or a small reduction in the state sales tax.
At the very least, we should be setting money aside for the rainy day that we know is coming, instead of spending every dollar. Based on recent surveys by the Wall Street Journal, 59 percent of private sector economists expect an economic downturn in 2020, with another 22 percent expecting it to happen in 2021.
The fact is, our economy is cyclical. We usually see a downturn about every 10 years or so (plus or minus). We came out of the last recession in 2009. We need to be preparing now for the next economic downturn – just like businesses and families around the state are doing. Raising taxes now to increase spending beyond the incomes of those who have to pay the bill is not a smart thing to do. And I will work against any effort to do so.
I recently sat down for a short interview with TVW to talk about the 9th Legislative district, some of my priorities and one of my legislative heroes, former Rep. Don Cox. You can watch that video here.
Thank you for reading my email update and for staying involved. Let me know if you have question, concerns, opinions or thoughts on issues important to you.