Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Many of you have contacted my office about the upcoming payroll tax to fund the Long-Term Care Services and Supports Program. This legislation was passed by the majority party in 2019. That same year, nearly 63% of voters across the state voted against it in Advisory Vote No. 20. Due to its unpopularity and COVID, the program was delayed. It is set to begin deducting from your paycheck in July. Workers will pay up to $0.58 per $100 of their earnings to pay for the mandated program. Republicans have tried to follow the will of the voters to repeal this program, but the majority party has refuted our efforts. To learn more about this program, click here. To read my recent op-ed on this issue, click here.
Beef Day in Olympia!
With the legislative session in person for the first time in nearly three years, the continuation of a long tradition was once again enjoyed by all this week. Beef Day! Ranchers and cattlemen from all over the state – especially from central and eastern Washington – converge at the state Capitol Building and grill up some amazing beef. Along with locally-grown asparagus, some chips, a cookie, and chocolate milk, this is the best meal many of us have seen in quite some time. Even though it was rainy, the line was long as staffers and legislator alike got to taste some of the best beef around.
I am always so grateful for the many hardworking men and women who feed our state, nation, and the rest of the world. Our state is second-to-none when it comes to the quality of our produce, crops, and stock. Thank you!
During our budget debate this week, I offered an amendment to the House version of the 2023-25 operating budget. My amendment was similar to legislation I introduced earlier this session that would reimburse farmers for the extra money they’re paying for fuel because of the Climate Commitment Act. You can watch my floor speech here.
Unfortunately, the majority party refused my amendment. As such, farmers are left with broken promises and the state Department of Ecology is off the hook (for now) after shirking their responsibility to ensure farmers are not negatively impacted by fuel surcharges. We had the chance to do the right thing and obey the law. We didn’t. And that’s a shame.
I voted ‘no’ on the House version of the budget. As I mentioned last week, state spending has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Our state budget is growing much faster than taxpayer incomes and is unsustainable.
With just over two weeks left in the legislative session there is still much to do. We are working on fixes to the police pursuit issue and the Blake decision. We must reconcile the three budgets (operating, transportation, and capital). And we still need to find solutions to our state’s housing crisis. Stay tuned.