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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The Legislature adjourned on Sunday, April 28. It was a disappointing end to the session, especially for the taxpayers of Washington state. Majority Democrats increased spending by almost 18 percent and implemented a number of new taxes to do so.

Entering the 2019 session, Washington state had a $2.8 billion budget surplus and was in the best financial position it had been in since the Great Recession. We could have funded all of our shared priorities, such as improve the special education funding formula, fix the governor's broken mental health system, provide school employee benefits, continue to invest in higher education, create more salmon to save the orca and give our state employees a raise – all those things within existing revenues and without new taxes.

Unfortunately, Democrats insisted on new taxes that will cost Washingtonians an extra $5 billion over the next four years. Higher property taxes, higher gas prices, a new payroll tax, and more expensive services from new taxes will hurt the middle class.

These new taxes support a budget that increases state spending by $8 billion, an increase of 18 percent over current levels. This level of spending growth is simply unsustainable. Spending has increased 70 percent since Gov. Inslee took office in 2013. No businesses or households are able to operate like that. Our state government should not either.

In our economic prosperity, we should be focused on building reserves to prevent devastating cuts in case of an economic downturn. Economists think another downturn is going to happen by 2021. We should be doing all we can to prepare for that. Instead this sets us up for an even harder fall.

The way the budget was negotiated and passed was also very discouraging. In the final days of session, tax policies were rushed through the process with absolutely no opportunity for meaningful review or comment from Republicans or the public. We can do better than partisan politics, unsustainable budgets and unnecessary tax increases.

Stay in touch

Throughout the coming months, I hope you will take time to contact me to share your comments, concerns and ideas regarding state issues. I am here to assist your navigation of state government and answer your questions. If you would like me to speak to your community group, school or business, please contact my office.

It is an honor to represent the 31st Legislative District.

Warmly,


Drew Stokesbary

State Representative Drew Stokesbary
31st Legislative District
RepresentativeDrewStokesbary.com
411 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
drew.stokesbary@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7846 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000