Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Greetings from Olympia!
The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, which means we are nearing the finish line of this 105-day regular session. With just a couple weeks remaining, several important policy decisions still need to be made. First, we will complete our debate and floor votes on the bills that were passed out of the opposite chamber. Next, the focus will remain on final budget negotiations on the state's three main budgets: the operating, transportation and capital. There is still a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.
In this legislative update, I will provide you with the status of my bills still alive and moving through the final stages of the legislative process. I will start by giving you a brief update on the current budget proposals on the table.
Here are some key highlights, differences and similarities of the House and Senate operating budget proposals.
- The Senate proposal spends about $52 billion in 2019-21, which is about $1 billion less than the House proposal.
- The Senate includes $1.1 billion in new taxes as compared to the House proposal of $4.4 billion, over the next four years.
- The Senate proposal leaves an ending fund balance of about $564 million, compared to the House proposal at $128 million.
- Spends nearly twice as much on K-12 special education, including increased access to safety net funding.
- Revenue depends primarily on an income tax on capital gains, adjustments to the real estate excise tax (REET), and increases to certain business and occupation (B&O) taxes.
- Revenue depends on tax changes to the real estate excise tax (REET). However, a separate bill, Senate Bill 5961, would impose an 8.9 percent income tax on capital gains.
This is a high-level look at the two proposals in front of our budget writers. The main takeaway is this: both proposals commit every new revenue dollar and include significant tax increases.
We will continue to fight hard and do our best to keep an increase in taxes as a last resort. We feel there is no need for new taxes when the state's revenue is the healthiest it has been since the Great Recession.
The bottom line: our revenue is ample enough to supply funding for all our state's priorities without raising your taxes.
I encourage you to watch my video update for my perspective on these budgets. You can do so by clicking on the photo below.
Legislation update | My priority bills
Here is a list of my priority bills that are still active. These bills have passed both the House and Senate chambers. The next step is final signature by Gov. Jay Inslee.
- House Bill 1014 – This would require all motorcycle operators to be insured under a motor vehicle liability policy, or equivalent requirement for registered motor vehicles under current law.
- House Bill 1469 – This would modify the provisions relating to approaching emergency or work zones and tow truck operators by reducing the speed limit for safety.
- House Bill 1563 – This would add certain on-campus and field trip alcohol tastings to those eligible to receive the special permit from the Liquor and Cannabis Board that authorizes the tasting of alcoholic beverages by underage students enrolled in specified culinary or alcoholic beverage technology classes. This bill will significantly enhance the winemaking educational programs across this state.
For more information on the budgets, my bills and what's left to accomplish in the remaining days of session, I encourage you to listen to my recent interview with KONA Radio. You can do so by clicking on the photo below.
I look forward to my return to the beautiful 16th District soon.
It's an honor to serve you.