Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The House passed a $58.2 billion 2021-23 operating budget this afternoon that relies on an unnecessary, unpopular, and likely unconstitutional income tax on capital gains.
As I've said before, state tax collections are now back to pre-pandemic levels. We also have billions coming into the state from the federal stimulus package. There is no legitimate reason to pass new taxes, especially a tax that voters in our state have rejected 10 times in the past.
I also have concerns that state spending continues to balloon uncontrollably. The 2021-23 budget passed today represents a 12.8% increase from the 2019-21 budget. Since Gov. Inslee took office in 2013, state spending has increased by 72%. This is not sustainable. State spending is growing much faster than the incomes of taxpayers.
Also troubling is the way the majority party takes $1.8 billion out of the state's voter-approved rainy-day fund and puts it into a new fund – but doesn't spend it! In normal times, it takes a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to tap the rainy-day fund. But because unemployment growth is down, it only takes a simple majority today. It looks to me like they are tapping the rainy-day fund now, simply because they can. I believe this budget maneuver violates the spirit – if not the law – of the voter-approved, constitutionally-protected, rainy-day fund.
I recently wrote an op-ed on the issue. If you'd like to learn more about the background of the fund, and why this maneuver by the majority party may be the beginning of the end for our rainy-day fund, click here.
We also passed a new capital, or construction, budget. While things are still being negotiated, here is a quick list of what's in the capital budget for the 9th District:
The House passed our version of the new transportation budget yesterday. Over the next three weeks, the majority parties in the House and Senate will go into “conference committees” to hash out the final budget details. I'll update you as we go along.
Thank you for staying involved. If you have questions or concerned, please don't hesitate to contact my office.