Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are in the home stretch of the 105-day session which is scheduled to end on April 28. We have passed three deadlines so far: February 22, last day for bills to be passed out of policy committees; March 1, last day for bills to pass budget committees; and March 13, last day for bills to be passed off the House floor. We are now considering Senate bills in House committees. For a quick reminder of the process for passing a bill click here. Our next cut-off will be on April 3, at that time Senate bills must pass House policy committees in order to keep going through the process.
Due to the unique make-up of the Senate, and legislation that has died due to cut-off, there are not nearly as many bills to be heard. This has been a quiet week. However, we have been told that this is just the calm before the storm. We have yet to begin budget discussions and those are sure to be a battle. My fellow House Republicans and I will continue to fight to fund education first and get back to a priorities of government model of budgeting. In my recent video update I addressed the state of our economy and budget.
Budget and the Economy
It is time for our state to truly move forward and create jobs. Continuing to take more money from hardworking taxpayers rather than prioritizing our budget is unacceptable. Political insiders will say there is not enough revenue to sustain our current budget. They will use that statement to levy new taxes on struggling families. It is not the truth. We have a fragile, slowly growing economy however we are still predicted to have $2 billion in new revenue.
The Legislature is capable of passing a budget that only uses $2 billon MORE instead of imposing new taxes on citizens. House and Senate Democrats have already proposed more than $10 billion in new taxes and it's time we say 'enough is enough.' Our state leadership should be following the example of former Gov. Gary Locke. In his 2002 address, Locke made this statement:
“We are convinced there is a better way. This year, we decided not to start with current spending to try to meet the forecasted revenue. Instead, we decided to look at how we should be spending our state's money in the first place. We are looking at what matters most to Washington citizens. We are focusing on results that people want and need, prioritizing those results, and funding those results with the money we have.”
I'm proud to announce that I was chosen for a new leadership role that will help address our fiscal planning. I have been appointed the position of Assistant Ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee. This committee addresses and approves funding for the construction and repair of public buildings, land acquisitions, local government, infrastructure, housing and the authorization of state debt. I am excited to apply my years of expertise to our capital budget spending plan. I believe, as a state, we can live within our means, fund education and do so without severe cuts once we prioritize government spending.
The one thing that has been a big debate this week is the passage of governor request legislation, Senate Bill 5802, which would create new limits on greenhouse gas emissions. House Democrats made the argument that we have incentivized fossil fuels more than clean energy as a reason for passing this bill. That is not true. Over the past 5 years there has been $14 billion in federal fossil fuels subsidies, but in 2010 alone $44 billion went to alternatives. I believe we should support alternatives, however not at the expense of favoritism to certain industries and poor investments. You can watch my brief speech here or view the entire debate on the floor here. If there is any element of state government that I can help you with, my door is always open. I am here to be a resource for you. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at (360) 786-7902, or e-mail me at Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be your voice in Olympia.