Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now past the first cutoff of the 2013 session. A lot of bills are technically “dead” for the remainder of session. To see our House Republican “Good Bill/Bad Bill” list that shows which bills are alive and which are dead, click here.
Many of you continue to contact me about some of the gun bills introduced this session. Here's a quick update on the main ones we've seen from the House:
- House Bill 1147 – Modifying first degree unlawful possession of a firearm provisions. (DEAD)
- House Bill 1612 – Concerning information on firearm offenders. (ALIVE and in the House Rules Committee)
- House Bill 1588 – Requiring universal background checks for firearms transfers. (ALIVE and in the House Rules Committee)
- House Bill 1676 – Encouraging safe storage of firearms. (DEAD)I encourage you to stay involved on this issue. At this point, it's hard to tell if one of these gun bills has the support to make it all the way to the governor's desk. I know the other side – the side that wants to erode our Second Amendment Rights – isn't going away anytime soon. Those of us who want to protect our freedoms need to stay vigilant. GAS TAX
Are you willing to pay 10 cents more in gas taxes per gallon of gas? That's what House Democrats proposed last week. Washington already has the second-highest excise gas tax in the nation at 37.5 cents-per-gallon. If you add the federal government tax (18.4 cents) and then another 10 cents as some in Olympia want to do, we'd be paying about 66 cents in state and federal taxes for each gallon of gas! If their proposal passes, Washington state would have the highest state excise tax on a gallon of gas in the nation!
But it's not just about the gas tax. They also propose a .7% increase in the motor vehicle excise tax ($140 increase in license fees for a $20,000 automobile), a .3% increase in the Hazardous Substance Tax (ask any farmer how that one will hurt – ouch!), a 15% increase in the Commercial Gross Weight Fee, and a $5 increase (registration) and a $12 increase (title transfers) in the county auditor licensing fees.
At the end of the day, I believe we need to “fix it, before we fund it.” We have too many problems within our transportation system as it is. The state has not been protecting or spending tax dollars on transportation projects wisely. There are some reforms we'd like to see before asking the taxpayers for more. I'll talk more about those reforms in an upcoming e-newsletter. For now, I cannot see how we can raise taxes and fees on families, employers and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet. We need to find another way.
What do you think? Are you willing to pay 10 cents more for a gallon of gas? Click here to take a survey and leave a comment for me if you'd like.
I had the opportunity to attend a press conference in Olympia with our House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt and Rep. Ed Orcutt, the ranking Republican on the House Transportation Committee (photo on the right). We discussed why the House Democrat plan was bad for Washington families and workers. My comments were also focused on the rural, agriculture communities as well that would be hit hard by the Democrats' plan.
Honoring our Washington State National Guard
A couple of weeks ago, we honored the Washington State National Guard on the House floor with a resolution and a few floor speeches. We were able to take some floor remarks and combine them with some music and photos/footage of some of our House Republican members that have served in our armed forces. I thought it was a pretty neat thing to do. I know we have a lot of veterans and active-duty armed forces members in the 9th District. Thank you for your service! If you want to watch the short video, click here.
As always, feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns. It is an honor to represent you in Olympia.