Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The House passed a bipartisan first supplemental budget this week that taps into our state's rainy day fund to help those communities devastated by the Oso land slide and the Carlton Complex wildfire. The most significant thing about the plan is that House Republicans and Democrats worked together closely throughout the process. This bodes well for the important task of creating and passing a 2015-17 operating budget and getting out of Olympia within the 105 days allotted. We continue to work hard to make that happen.
There are always bills introduced during session that have an impact on employers and their employees. Here are a few I'd like to highlight. Let me know what you think of these proposals. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org As we've done in the past, I'll highlight some of your comments in future e-newsletters.
House Bill 1314, requested by the governor, would implement a new carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He has provided information on his plan here. The governor has labeled some companies and universities as “big polluters” based on this list.
House Bill 1484, also requested by the governor, would establish a 7 percent state capital gains tax (a tax on investment earnings above a certain level). You can find why the governor supports it here.
House Bill 1355 would raise the state minimum wage to $12/hour over four years — $10 in 2016, $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018, and $12 in 2019. It would then be indexed to the Consumer Price Index thereafter.
House Bill 1356 would require different levels of sick leave accrual depending on the size of business and hours worked.
One of the most interesting things about being in Olympia during session is the citizen involvement. It seems just about every day has a theme, which then corresponds to a group either protesting one thing or supporting another. There's no way I can mention them all, but I'll include photos throughout the session to hopefully give you a feel for what an average day in Olympia can be like.
Thank you for staying involved in your government. I hope you're able participate in my telephone town hall next week. On Wednesday, Feb. 4 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. just call (509) 590-4692 and press star (*) on your telephone keypad if you have a question.
And…… GO HAWKS!