Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week, the governor released his budget proposal – it wasn't a complete budget, more of an outline. His solution to our $1.3 billion budget shortfall for the next biennium and to satisfy the state Supreme Court McCleary decision to make education our state's first and highest priority can be summed up in two words: MORE TAXES.
Here's a list of his proposed tax increases:
1. Tax increase on recycled fuel environmental programs at Washington's oil refineries – $40.8 million
2. Tax increase on new car, machinery and equipment purchases – $94 million
3. Tax increase on bottled water – $51 million
4. Business and occupation tax increase on most state businesses – $94 million
5. Making temporary taxes set to expire on service-industry businesses permanent – $534 million
6. Tax increase on prescription drugs – $29 million
7. Tax increase on computer software – $78 million
8. Tax increase on telephone services – $83 million
9. Tax increase on import commerce – $24 million
10. Making temporary taxes set to expire on beer permanent, and extending the tax to the state's microbreweries (which were originally exempt) – $127 million
11. Extending state sales tax to non-residents of Washington state – $63 million
12. Tax increase on farm auctions – $5 million
I seem to remember Gov. Inslee promising during his recent campaign that he wouldn't raise taxes. In any event, I don't agree with this approach. I don't think the folks back home can afford to give government more of their hard-earned money. I expect to see the bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition Caucus release their budget next week, with the House Democrat budget coming out the following week. I'll keep you informed of the budget proposals as head toward the finish line.
There is a lot of talk in the media about Medicaid expansion. What is it? What does it mean for Washington state budget writers? What does it mean for the uninsured in our state? Here's a small excerpt from an opinion editorial piece I wrote for our local papers:
“The writing is on the wall, folks. Medicaid expansion will most likely happen here in Washington. But it's important for everyone to realize – both the public and elected officials – Medicaid expansion is not a panacea for our budget problems or for providing health care service to our citizens. It comes with serious risks and opens a Pandora's Box of issues that legislators will be dealing with for years to come.”
To read the entire article, click here.
Colton Wildcats Girls B-ball Team!
The three state lawmakers from the 9th Legislative District recognized the Colton Wildcats Girls Basketball Team in the Legislature on March 15 with House Resolution 4633 for the team's history-making fifth State 1B Championship win. The team also attended an event at the governor's mansion arranged in their honor. Sen. Mark Schoesler and Rep. Susan Fagan and I authored the resolution, which was adopted by the House of Representatives.
Pictured with Rep. Susan Fagan and me are: Head Coach Clark Vining, Assistant Coach Ben Emerson and players Savannah Chadwick, Zoe Moser and Jenna Moser.
Thank you for reading my e-newsletter and for staying involved. I appreciate hearing your views on the issues and the legislation we're dealing with in Olympia.