Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature adjourned today — two days early. Usually this would be a good thing, but unfortunately agreement on the budget could not be found in time between the House and Senate, and the governor has called us back for a special session to begin Wednesday, April 29.
Past special sessions have cost taxpayers $12,000 to $18,000 a day. I don't want to contribute to this cost, so I won't ask for reimbursement of any travel, housing or food costs during the special session because I don't believe we should be in a special session to begin with. I came to Olympia to provide solutions and be part of the answer. We have $3 billion more in current revenue. One of the major contentions in negotiations is the $1.5 billion tax increase proposed by House Democrats. That proposal includes a 20 percent increase in B&O taxes on 164,000 small businesses including child care centers, janitorial services and home nursing services. It would also create a new capital gains tax, which is a form of an income tax. While proponents say these taxes are only on the rich, the reality is that these tax increases will affect all of us.
105 days was more than enough time to adopt a responsible budget for our state. I'm disappointed that could not happen. The longer the Legislature takes to adopt a budget, the less time our school districts have to craft budgets. In past special sessions, teachers have received layoff notices simply because the state budget was not adopted in time. We can and should do better for education. The House and Senate budget proposals both include more than $1 billion in new funding for basic education — I think that's a great foundation for a budget compromise we can support. I look forward to being called back when budget writers have come to an agreement so we can finish the work the people expect us to accomplish.
It's an honor to serve as your state representative.