Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The majority House Democrats' proposed budget dramatically increases spending and relies on $4 billion in new taxes on businesses, home sales and capital income. I was disappointed that despite historic taxpayer revenue coming into the state, the majority doubled-down on their plan to raise taxes.
Our current revenue is more than sufficient to fund our shared priorities, and I believe we can pass a budget without more tax increases. In fact, here's a short video of me explaining our current budget situation.
While the budget was written and passed on party lines, I was still pleased that a number of key amendments introduced by House Republicans were adopted, including:
- Increasing Medicaid fraud enforcement, which would save $240 million;
- Providing for more local drug and gang policing in response to the opioid epidemic;
- Raising payment rates for those providing care to seniors and individuals with disabilities;
- Funding programs to reduce veteran suicides;
- Providing a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers and public employees;
- Giving additional assistance to mostly small- and rural-school districts uniquely affected by the McCleary legislation;
- Increasing transportation funding for homeless youth and foster children so they can stay in their school district;
- Investing in hatchery production at state and tribal fisheries with an emphasis on Chinook salmon, the Orca's preferred prey.
If you have any questions or concerns about the operating budget or any other state issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.