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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Rep. Joe Schmick in the House Health Care and Wellness CommitteeToday is the policy committee cutoff date – meaning any bills not voted out of their policy committees by the end of the day are likely dead this session. Much of our time the last few weeks has been spent in committee.  Next week, I anticipate working all day and into the late evening on the House floor debating and voting on legislation that has passed the committee process.  It's hard to believe that this session is almost half over.

Jobs agenda

Jobs and economy leaders in our caucus and from the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (SMCC) focused last week on improving our economy and creating jobs. We hosted a press conference to push our jobs agenda. You can watch the press conference here. If you are interested in the economic solutions of Washington House Republicans, click: Let's Get Washington Working.

As someone who has owned and worked in small business for many years, I understand the policies that are good and bad for employers. We must work on policies that encourage investment and job creation.

hand holding wallet BE 2Governor proposes tax increases – again

Gov. Inslee recently held a press conference to announce his plan to raise taxes by over $400 million. The governor wants to:

  • Increases the tax on sales tax for trade-ins valued over $10,000. A family purchasing a $35,000 vehicle, and trading in a $15,000 vehicle, would see an increase on the sales tax paid of $450.
  • Impose a tax on interstate transportation. We run the risk of starting a mini-trade war with retaliatory taxing from adjacent states and it could drive up prices for consumers.
  • Impose a tax on recycled fuel used on-site in manufacturing. This tax exemption incentivizes recycling of fuel and the most efficient use, namely re-use at the same plant.
  • Impose a sales tax on nonresidents. This will hurt job creation in border counties, which hits the 9th Legislative District especially hard as we border two other states.
  • Place the tax back on bottled water. This ignores the will of the voters. In 2010, the people passed I-1107, which repealed the sales tax on bottled water.
  • Impose a sales tax on janitorial services. Another cost driver on our small employers.
  • Increase the business tax on prescription drugs. This could drive up the costs of prescription drugs, harming those who use prescription the most – the elderly and the sick, who are also the least likely to afford an increase.

No is not the time raise taxes and I'll continue to express that message to my colleagues at every opportunity.

“Abortion Mandate” bill passes House

The House passed House Bill 2148 this week, the “Abortion Mandate” bill. This bill says to individuals, employers and health insurers that health plans in our state must include abortion coverage – regardless of their beliefs on abortion. It is anti-choice. It is an attack on religious liberty, freedom and conscience-protections in the U.S. and state constitutions. It would end choice for individuals because it does not allow them to choose a health plan without abortion coverage. This bill says you get one option and no choice whatsoever.

This legislation is also in direct conflict with Section 507 of the federal Hyde/Weldon Amendment (see below). Because of this conflict, the bill could result in our state losing federal funding for not only health care, but education and labor:

“Section 507 of the federal Hyde/Weldon Amendment: (d) (1) None of the funds made available in this Act may be made available to a Federal agency or program, or to a State or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discriminate on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. (2) In this subsection, the term 'health care entity' includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.”Rep. Joe Schmick hosts a telephone town hall for 9th District residents

I voted NO on this bill and am very hopeful it will die in the Senate.

Join me for a telephone town hall in February!

I will be hosting a telephone town hall for all 9th District residents on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Just call toll-free 1-800-761-6268 and you can participate with your neighbors in this “Community Conversation.” These events have been very successful in the past and help me keep in touch with you. You can ask me questions, take my survey or just listen in from the comfort of your own home. I hope you're able to join me.

Sincerely,


Joe Schmick

State Representative Joe Schmick, 9th Legislative District
RepresentativeJoeSchmick.com
426B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7844 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000