Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Legislature is completing week two of the second special session. Leadership from both parties have been meeting with the Governor this week to develop a budget for the next two years (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015). The goal in negotiations is to develop a budget that the House, Senate, and Governor can support.
I have been eagerly awaiting the call to return to Olympia to vote on an operating budget proposal that adequately funds education, preserves services for our most vulnerable, and ensures public safety. House members have been presented two budget proposals so far. I voted “No” on both proposals. The first House budget proposed would have raised taxes by over $1 billion, and the second budget would have raised taxes by nearly $600 million.
Both budgets were unacceptable to many of us because they contained tax increases, depleted reserve funds, and used budgeting gimmicks. While I know that we all want a budget completed, I did not feel comfortable approving a plan that would be unsustainable in future years and adversely impact our recovering economy.
This process has taken longer this year for many reasons, including the challenge of overcoming a deficit, meeting a supreme court ruling concerning education funding, and finding true bipartisan compromise. Recent legislatures have included one party control in all aspects of the process (House, Senate, and Governor). The process is different this year as the House and Senate have different majority parties.
Regardless of political parties in control, we must continue to work together to approve a sustainable budget that we all can be proud of given the circumstances. The good news is that the state's most recent quarterly revenue forecast was released this week, which anticipates an extra $110 million in revenue over the next two years. This is a positive message about our recovering state economy. I anticipate being called back to Olympia for votes over the weekend. I hope to deliver another positive message next week — hopefully news of a budget compromise.
Thank you for your interest and continued support. It is my honor to represent you in Olympia.
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000