Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's been an interesting week in Olympia, for a lot of different reasons. For the first time since the 1990's, the minority party in the House of Representatives released a complete budget proposal. This is difficult to do as it requires an immense amount of staff time to complete. Our proposal was introduced as a striking amendment in the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this week. In the end, our budget was defeated by a party-line vote of 16-11 and Democrat budget prevailed. Their budget will be voted out of the House on Saturday.
When crafting our budget, we tried to focus on sustainability, accountability and transparency. We also put more emphasis on our three main priorities of education, public safety and protecting the most vulnerable.
While going about this process, we used several guiding principles, including:
- No use of one-time money for ongoing programs
- Strong reserve to meet unforeseen emergencies or revenue drops
- Protect constitutional mandates
- Transparency – no gimmicks
- Utilize priorities of government
- Reflect priorities of governing board
- Seek efficiencies and reforms where cost effective
- No new taxes
For a more detailed look at our budget, click here.
We also had a lot of protesters at the Capitol Building. There has been a lot of rhetoric about closing tax exemptions in order to fund state services. The two largest tax exemptions in Washington are the exemption for sales tax on food and prescription drugs. I'm not sure we should go there. Anyway, for more information on how tax exemptions help create and protect jobs, and how they go through the process of being created in the first place, you can read a great piece written by my colleague Rep. Ed Orcutt from Kalama. He's one of the assistant ranking members on the House Ways and Means Committee.
Some of the protesters got arrested yesterday. And today, there were several thousand protesters again. Mostly union workers from around the state who were paid to attend.