Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The majority party in Olympia passed a business and occupation (B&O) tax increase last night, despite strenuous objections from Republicans. We offered more than 30 amendments (none were accepted) to Senate Bill 6492 and spent several hours in debate over two separate floor sessions. To no avail. The measure passed with no Republicans voting for it. You can watch the first part of the floor debate here. You can watch the second session, which went late in the evening last night, here.
One of my concerns with this bill is how it raises taxes on more than 4,400 new businesses who provide 465,000 jobs. This at a time when state tax collections are at an all-time high. We continue to see record revenue increases at the state level, yet some in Olympia want to raise taxes? Since the end of the 2019 legislative session, the revenue forecast has increased by about $1.7 BILLION for the biennium. With this surplus of funds, there is no need to raise taxes.
In addition, the public has been very clear on this issue. Voters have continually rejected new or increased taxes. The Legislature should listen to the voters. Instead, the measure was rushed through the legislative process to fix a bill that passed last year that was rushed through the legislative process. Sound familiar?
I continue to believe the state is spending beyond its means and not setting aside enough money in our Rainy Day Account for when the next inevitable recession hits.
Cutoff time – and a lot of bills have been introduced!
This week is the first policy committee cutoff of the session. All bills must be out of their respective policy committees or else they are considered “dead” for the session (this doesn't apply to bills “necessary to implement the budget,” or NTIB bill).
Speaking of bills, between the House and Senate there have been roughly 1,500 bills introduced this session! The legislative pace has been extremely hectic as there seems to be more bills introduced this year than in previous 60-day sessions.
Telephone town hall
We will hold our 9th Legislative District telephone town hall on Tuesday, Feb. 25 from 6-7 p.m. If you have a land line, you should receive an invitation phone call from our automated system. However, if you don't have a land line and would still like to participate, you can call (509) 253-8513 beginning at 5:00 p.m. on the day of the event. I hope you can join us as our telephone town halls allow us to reach so many of you within the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Thank you for staying involved in your state government. It is an honor to serve you in the state House.