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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting Emily Cieslak, a Wenatchee High School student and one of the editors of the school newspaper, The Apple Leaf. She's also an intern with KOHO radio, anEmily Cieslak visits the Capitold was recently named a 2015 Washington Scholar by the Washington State Student Achievement Council, which is among the highest academic recognitions in our state.

I invited Emily to come to the state Capitol to meet legislators and the governor to conduct interviews. When I was younger, former House Speaker Clyde Ballard and Majority Leader Dale Foreman took an interest in me and helped me learn about government. I met Emily last year and was excited to help provide her with an opportunity to experience Olympia.

During her visit, Emily interviewed all three 12th District legislators – myself, Sen. Linda Hawkins with EmilyEvans Parlette and Rep. Cary Condotta. She also toured the governor's office, joined other reporters at the governor's weekly media availability event, and talked with the governor individually. Watch for Emily's story in The Apple Leaf and listen in on KOHO radio! We also recorded a video together inside the Capitol rotunda. Click here to watch my video interview with Emily.

Rep. Hawkins with page Mitchell WoodburyI was also honored this week to host another talented student, Mitchell Woodbury, as my legislative page. Mitchell is a ninth grader at Eastmont Junior High. We met last year at a dinner for the Misawa, Japan sister city delegation hosted by East Wenatchee Mayor Steve Lacy and his wife. I was very impressed with Mitchell who has been involved in both Eastmont student government and musicals. Earlier this session, my office contacted Mitchell's school principal to recruit him to serve as my page. He has been enjoying his week here in Olympia learning about the legislative process and assisting lawmakers. We have a bright future with young people like Emily and Mitchell.

Last week, I summarized the three budgets the Legislature is developing. Various proposals from the House and Senate majorities have now been released. Here are some highlights of the three budgets.

Operating budget

House Democratic proposal:

  • $39 billion total spending
  • $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes
  • Suspends the state spending limit
  • Freezes tuition for higher education
  • $1.4 billion for education spending to meet basic education requirements
  • Includes cost-of-living adjustments for state and school employees

Senate Republican proposal:

  • $38 billion total spending
  • No new tax increases
  • Does not suspend state spending limit
  • Cuts tuition costs for higher education
  • Includes cost-of-living adjustments for state and school employees
  • $1.3 billion for education spending to meet basic education requirements

Capital budget

I'm very pleased that the House capital budget proposal includes funding for areas affected by the Carlton Complex Fire:

  • Brewster reservoir replacement ($1 million)
  • Pateros water system replacement ($1.5 million)
  • Twisp civic building ($500,000)

You can read more about the House proposal here (a Senate proposal has not been released yet).

Transportation budget

As I mentioned in my last email, the transportation budget is separate from the gas tax package, and is funded within current revenues. You can read more about the proposals in the House here and the Senate here.

With 24 days left in the session, now is the time for the Legislature to focus on reconciling the House and Senate budget proposals and passing responsible budgets with your hard-earned tax dollars. We can and should complete the session on time, which is scheduled to end April 26.

As always, I welcome your questions, comments and suggestions. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

Sincerely,


Brad Hawkins

State Representative Brad Hawkins, 12th Legislative District
122G Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7832 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000