Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As I mentioned in my last email update, my new duties as the lead budget writer for House Republicans mean a lot of my time will be focused on the 2019-21 operating budget and related legislation. The governor recently submitted his budget proposal to the Legislature, and I wanted to share a few key things about it and get your feedback.
For background, thanks to our robust economy, the state budget has grown by about 35 percent since I began serving in the Legislature four years ago. Resources available for the upcoming 2019-21 biennium are expected to be nearly $5 billion higher than the 2017-19 biennium. Despite all this, the governor has proposed increasing spending by another $4 billion, which would increase spending by an additional 20 percent. Under his budget, spending will increase by 75 percent since he became governor.
Very few families have seen their household income grow by 75 percent since 2013 or will see a 20 percent increase this year. I don't think we need more of your money. It comes down to priorities. We need to be thankful for how much our state has to spend, determine what our shared priorities are, and write a budget that reflects those priorities and lives within our (very ample) means.
To give a few examples, the governor's budget would spend $1.1 billion on orca recovery, which works out to $14 million per orca. It's also nearly twice the amount his budget would spend on new mental health services.
I think there is a better way to do things and look forward to proposing alternative solutions. In the meantime, I welcome your input or feedback, including any questions, comments or concerns with the governor's proposal. Next week I'll share a little more about the taxes the governor is proposing to pay for these spending increases.
As always, it is an honor to represent the great people in the 31st District!
P.S. If you would like to hear more on the budget, please listen to my podcast. Click “A conversation with Republican budget leader Drew Stokesbary” to hear more.