Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope this letter finds you well. As we reach the midway point of the 60-day legislative session, I wanted to touch base with you on a couple issues.
First, I would like to invite you to join my tele-town hall meeting this Wednesday, Feb. 10. You can participate from the comfort of your own home by calling 1-877-229-8493 and entering 15549. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will last an hour. You will have the opportunity to ask me questions, take part in polls or just listen in to the community conversation. I hope you can make it.
Second, I want to alert you to legislation that would essentially eliminate voter-approved Initiative 960 from 2007. Initiative 960 is important because it requires any tax increase to be approved by either a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, or by a vote of the people. Senate Bill 6843 would strip away these protections and other transparency provisions. The intent of this effort is clear: to increase taxes. The measure is being fast-tracked through the legislative process. It was introduced last Wednesday, and a hearing was held in the Senate Ways and Means Committee the following day. You can watch this hearing by clicking here.
I am opposed to Senate Bill 6843, and any effort to dismantle I-960 or raise taxes. I stand with the citizens of Washington who decided it was important to put taxpayer protections in place and demand accountability and transparency in state government. It is never a good time to raise taxes on families, individuals or employers — but especially in these tough economic times. Our state must live within its means.
The focus of the Legislature should be on creating a climate for economic prosperity — not maintaining the status quo in state government. And state lawmakers should be advancing solutions that create new jobs — not raising taxes on small businesses and families. Two very distinct approaches to the state budget have emerged in Olympia. One seeks to increases taxes, rely on federal bailout dollars and increase the state's debt load. The other approach, which I support, is to reject tax increases, implement a priorities of government model to our budgeting process, and bring spending in line with existing revenues.
I will keep you updated as this and other issues evolve. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.