Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today is the last day of the 30-day special session but it looks like another session will be needed as we have yet to see a budget pass the House. I sincerely believe a handful of Democrats are holding up the process because they promised the special interest groups they represent that they would raise taxes at all costs.
Despite now having $3.2 billion more in tax collections for the 2015-17 budget, certain Democrats want more. However, even the governor has changed his tune and is going back on his demand for major tax increases (read more here). His budget lead even said the additional revenue from the most recent revenue forecast should make it easier for budget negotiators to find middle ground (read more here).
I can't tell you how frustrating this is. We came to Olympia in better budget shape than in any previous year I've been in the Legislature. I remember the days of billion and multi billion shortfalls where hard decisions had to be made. But with $3.2 billion more in state tax collections, there is more than enough to pass a balanced, sustainable budget that invests in education, our college students, mental health system and public employees. We just need a few stalwart “tax-and-spend” relics to come to this conclusion as well.
House Bill 1627 was recently signed into law by the governor. This was brought to me by a constituent who was tired of seeing trespassers on their private property running elk ragged just to get them to drop their antlers. There's money to be made in elk antler sheds but current law only allows a small fine, which some are will to pay as long as they get to keep the elk antlers. My bill allows law enforcement to confiscate the antlers on private property as well as levy a fine. To read more about this issue and my bill, click here.
Six counties participated in appointing a replacement for former Rep. Susan Fagan. Of the 17 commissioners from those counties, 13 of them choose Mary Dye from Pomeroy. Mary and her husband operate a 3,000 acre wheat farm and she has been involved in the Save Our Dams campaign. Please join me in welcoming our newest 9th Legislative District legislator! I know she'll do a great job serving in the state House. To read more about the selection process and some comments from Rep. Dye, click here.
I'll continue to update you as this second special session progresses. Please feel free to contact my office with your questions or concerns. If you need a speaker for your civic organization, church group or community gathering, please let me know. I'm happy to help keep you involved in your state government.