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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The final pieces of the puzzle are falling into place as there's less than two weeks left in the 2016 legislative session. Session is scheduled to adjourn March 10, and I'm looking forward to being back in district full time!
The House and Senate released their respective supplemental operating budgets last week, and both were voted out of their respective chambers. House Democrats' budget is really more of a negotiating tool than it is a serious budget plan. It uses an accounting gimmick to balance the four-year outlook and calls for nearly $120 million in tax increases for the 2015-17 biennium. It also raids the rainy day fund for non-emergency spending. If our latest state revenue forecast is any indication of our state's recovering yet still fragile economy, the last thing we should be looking toward is raising taxes on hard working individuals and families.
Across the rotunda, the Senate's proposed budget is more fiscally responsible, and doesn't drain the rainy day fund. Budget negotiators must come together on a sustainable budget plan that moves Washington forward.
Two weekends ago, Rep. Chad Magendanz and I held three town halls in Maple Valley, Issaquah and North Bend. Thank you to everyone who took time out of their Saturday to meet with us! The conversations were productive, and we covered a variety of topics from transportation, K-12 education funding, charter schools, mental health and more. Check out photos from the events here.
I am happy to share Rep. Magendanz and I will be hosting a telephone town hall the evening of March 2. If you were unable to make it out to one of our town halls Feb. 20 and have any questions for either of us as the 2016 legislative session comes to a close, this is another opportunity for you to communicate with us directly. Details are as follows:
Telephone town hall
Wednesday, March 2, 6-7 p.m.
To participate, dial (425) 201-0709 and press the STAR (*) key anytime during the event to ask a question.
Please don't hesitate to contact my office with any questions you have prior to the call. I look forward to hearing from you!
Seeking congestion relief and safety improvements on SR 169, I-90 in North Bend
The House supplemental transportation budget passed the House Thursday. As a result of my work on the House Transportation Committee, I have secured $150,000 for a corridor safety study along SR 169 to identify locations for safety improvements and traffic congestion relief. This study will be the first step in the process in pursuing further safety improvements along our highways. There's also $100,000 for improvements on arterial roads in North Bend around Exit 34, where semi-trucks have completely ravaged parts of the highway.
I will continue to work hard to ensure these funds remain in the final version of the budget. We must address these immediate road problems in order to improve commute safety and ensure our economy remains productive.
As we round out these last few days of session, I encourage you to stay in touch with your ideas, concerns and questions. It's an honor serving you!
420 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7852 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000