Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are coming to the end of the first week of the 2013 special session. There has been little progress and the pace is a frustrating crawl. The regular, 105-day legislative session ended April 28 and due to the Legislature's inability to agree on the state operating budget the governor called a special session. During the special session I'll be sending you updates like this one to keep you informed. Please feel free to pass this e-mail along to others who may be interested. You can sign up for my e-mail updates by clicking here. And, learn more about my activities as your legislator by visiting my Web site.
Capital Budget meetings
The Legislature is currently in what is called “pro forma'” session; which means that although a special session has been called, we are not holding committee hearings or voting on bills. I've spent a lot of time back home in the 35th District meeting with constituents and working to continue to grow my investment company. As a member of leadership on the capital budget committee, I have also made several trips to Olympia to meet with other budget writers. On May 15, I met with the “four corners” – chief negotiators from both the House and the Senate – after our meeting I am hopeful that we will be able to find a consensus on the capital budget.
Although most of the Legislature is back in their districts, House and Senate budget writers are meeting in an attempt to find a consensus on the Operating Budget. There are vast differences in the House Democrat's proposal, the governor's plan and the Senate majority budgets. You can see in the graph to the right exactly how the budgets are different (for a larger version please click on the graph).
- The Senate budget is balanced and “lives within our means” of expected tax collections, which are up $2 billion, or 6.6 percent. Therefore, it creates no new or increased taxes while allocating more money to education and priorities like public safety.
- The House Democrat budget (which mirrors the governor's plan) relies on $879 million in new and higher taxes to balance. These new taxes are in spite of the $2 billion more that is expected. This budget raises taxes on already struggling families, depletes the “rainy day fund” and makes no reforms to address out-of-control spending.
During the final days of the regular session I strongly opposed the final element of the House Democrat budget. This last piece was a bill that would end exemptions to the business and occupation (B&O) tax on many self-employed people, small employers and service businesses. Should another budget like this one come before us for a vote I will again vote 'no'. I will continue to keep you updated on the progress we are making in Olympia on the budget and any new legislation that may arise.
I'm pleased to tell you that I will be opening a district office in Shelton. If you would like to meet with me in person and cannot make the trip to Olympia feel free to stop by the office. The office is located at 327 W. Railroad St, Shelton. On June 1, I will be hosting an open-house from 9 a.m. to noon; please drop-in and have donuts, coffee and spend some time with me and my legislative team.
Please remember if there is any element of state government that I can help you with, my door is always open. Remember that I am your legislator year-round and 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.