Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued its updated state revenue forecast for the quarter this week. With the strong state economy and a real estate market that is very active, the state is expected to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue over the next two years. Because more people have jobs – at higher wages – less people are seeking state services. Combined, this means the state is looking at a budget surplus of about $2.4 billion over the next few years!
I believe the state should give some of this money back to taxpayers. We have legislation to fully fund the $30 car tab initiative passed by voters last November. We should also substantially cut the state portion of the property tax. Homeowners are seeing property valuations go up, which is causing a noticeable spike in property taxes.
Death penalty bill scheduled for public hearing
The death penalty bill (Senate Bill 5339) is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Public Safety Committee on Monday, Feb. 24 at 1:30 p.m. I encourage you to attend if you are able, or submit your comments to the committee members (information here), or call the legislative hotline to voice your concerns 1-800-562-6000. The bill has already been scheduled for “executive session” where it can be voted out of the committee, so it appears this bill may be headed to the House floor. I need your help to protect our children, families and communities from the worst of the worst criminals – those who murder and rape for sport. Please consider weighing in on this.
Mandatory sex education
I was so proud of all the people who showed up this week to testify against the mandatory sex education bill. Senate Bill 5395 would require comprehensive sex education in all grades, K-12. There were over 650 people signed in to testify against this bill. A topic such as this should be decided at the local level, with ample input from the community, the local school district and above all – PARENTS! I absolutely do not support this bill and stand with the parents, school officials, teachers and students who testified against this awful legislation. You can watch a short video of the day's proceedings here.
Telephone town hall
You are invited to join Sen. Jeff Holy, Rep. Mike Volz and me at our 6th Legislative District telephone town hall next week! The event will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 6-7 p.m. Only household lines will receive an invitation call, but residents wishing to participate via cell phone or from somewhere else other than their home may call (509) 253-8540 anywhere between 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. the evening of the event. This is a great way to get input from you as we strive to be your voice in Olympia. Your comments, concerns and questions are important to us. I hope you can make it.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia. It is an honor to be your state representative.