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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Many of you have contacted my office expressing frustrations with the long-term care tax going into effect Jan. 1, 2022. I understand and share your concerns. When the Democrat majority in the Legislature passed HB 1087 back in 2019, many of us fought against this effort, pointing out the many flaws in the program:

  • Lifetime benefit of $36,500 is much less than what may people will actually pay into the program over the course of their lives, and may only pay for a few months of services;
  • Out-of-state employees will be required to pay into the program but cannot use it;
  • If you pay into the program but retire to a different state, you cannot use it;
  • The opt-out window of just a couple months was much too short to accommodate most people;
  • The private insurance market was not prepared to handle the massive influx of new applications for those wishing to be exempted from the mandatory state program;
  • With so many citizens wanting out of the state program, Democrats will have to raise the tax even higher to keep it actuarily sound.

You can read an opinion piece I coauthored with Rep. Peter Abbarno for The Seattle Times here. You can also read a Q and A piece I did for SHIFT Washington here.

While I do believe that long-term care insurance can be an important safety net for families and individuals, it should be left up to each person – NOT mandated by the government. I believe that health and financial security decisions are best made by each individual. Legislation will be introduced next session to stop the tax and repeal HB 1087. If Democrats won't accept the repeal, I will also have legislation to address some of the structural issues with the plan, along with giving more flexibility to people required to pay the tax.

Inslee breaks with 50 years' of tradition and plays politics with new Secretary of State appointee

When Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced she had accepted a position in the Biden administration, Republicans were hopeful that Gov. Jay Inslee would heed the will of the voters and appoint a Republican to replace her. He did not. Instead, he appointed Democrat Sen. Steve Hobbs, the first Democrat to serve as Washington's Secretary of State since 1964.

Have your insurance premiums increased?

Several of you have commented to me that your auto or homeowners insurance premiums have increased. You're not alone. My insurance has gone up as well. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an emergency rule that banned the use of credit scoring when setting insurance rates.  He has tried several times in the past to get legislation through the Legislature to do this. But his proposals have always failed. Now, however, he's abused the emergency rule process to go around the elected members of the Legislature. This is another reason why we need emergency powers reform now.

2022 legislative session most likely remote/hybrid

While nothing has been officially finalized, it is looking more and more likely that the 2022 legislative session will look much like the 2021 session. Committee meetings will be held remotely via ZOOM, staff will not be allowed on the capitol campus, and the public will not be allowed in person to attend meetings or visit with legislators. Certain legislators may be allowed in Olympia, but this too has yet to be finalized. This is not what I nor my Republican colleagues want. However, it is imperative that you remain active in your state government and work to hold your elected leaders accountable. I encourage you to stay involved and participate in online meetings and forums if you're able.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the state Legislature. I will continue to work to earn your trust, and to help you stay as involved and as informed as possible.

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
(253) 275-1425 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000