Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is an honor to serve you as one of your 5th District legislators. My commitment to you is that I will always do what is right for our district when in Olympia. Your feedback – e-mails, calls and visits – helped me cast votes that represent your voice. Thank you for trusting me to make major decisions on hundreds of measures before the Legislature again this year.
It was a fast 60-day legislative session, but I am happy to report that the Legislature finished its work on time and passed a balanced, responsible and bipartisan supplemental operating budget that does not rely on increasing your taxes. I voted “yes” on the budget for several reasons, including:
- Of the $155 million in new spending, nearly two-thirds are directed toward education funding, which goes directly toward meeting our obligations under the McCleary education funding state Supreme Court order;
- We invested more in our higher education system, continuing the freeze on tuition rates;
- We prevented tax increases proposed by the majority party in the House and the governor that would have increased taxes on bottled water, recycled fuel, prescription drugs, e-cigarettes, and eliminated the sales tax exemption for out-of-state shoppers, among other items and services; and
- It increases the state's ending-fund balance to $315 million, up from $56 million in the 2013-15 budget passed last year.
Here's the breakdown of how the state will spend the additional $155 million:
- Public education (K-12) – $56 million (36 percent)
- Higher education – $41.7 million (27 percent)
- Early learning – $20,000
- All non-education funding (includes protecting our most vulnerable, developmentally disabled people, Medicaid health care services, etc.) – $57.2 million (37 percent)
As we work to ensure your tax dollars are spent wisely, it is critical that we allocated additional dollars to our top priorities: K-12 education, public safety and caring for the most vulnerable. We should not gamble on new and higher taxes to pay for these core government responsibilities. This budget reflects this philosophy and I appreciate everyone working hard to find common ground on the spending plan.
During the interim, I will continue to make myself available for speeches, one-on-one meetings, civic events and other requests for legislative updates and information. Please always feel free to contact my legislative aide, Kate Cooper, to schedule a time to meet with me or a speaking engagement. She can be reached at (360) 786-7852.
For more information on me and legislation I worked on this year, please visit my website at www.representativejayrodne.com.
Again, thank you for the privilege of serving you.