Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2015 legislative session is picking up steam as committees begin to hold public hearings on bills under consideration. There are many issues coming before us in the Legislature, with several hundred bills already filed. Constituents from all across the 35th Legislative District have been visiting me and sharing their concerns and priorities. I am always grateful to hear from you firsthand, and hope you will continue to share your concerns and ideas with me throughout the year.
Telephone town hall
Join my telephone town hall Feb. 9. Your voice has been, and will continue to be, the most important way for me to ensure I vote in ways reflective of the diverse 35th District. This is why I am hosting an hour-long telephone town hall on Monday, Feb. 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. To take part in the call, just dial 360-355-3025. The phone line will open shortly before the call begins. To ask me questions directly during the call, just press star (*) on your telephone keypad.
This week, I testified before the House Transportation Committee on a reform bill I introduced to help address the high costs of projects in Washington. House Bill 1358 would end the practice of bonding sales tax obligations on transportation projects. This would directly affect the amount of money we are able to put into actual projects. By paying the sales tax on projects upfront, we eliminate increased interest payments and costs which we incur over the life of the bond, and well after the project is complete. You can view my testimony here. This bill will be voted on in committee on Feb. 3.
Budget hearings are currently underway in the House Appropriations Committee, and we are learning more about the governor’s proposals. I have heard from many of you concerned with proposals to raise taxes by about $1.5 billion. I share your concerns and will continue to seek solutions which prioritize state spending, especially given the increase in revenue collections which are up over 8 percent for this budget cycle. It’s time for government to budget based on what tax payers are willing to provide, not simply spend as it wants.
I also heard concerns about the governor’s carbon tax proposals which would have a major impact on the price we pay at the pump. This is particularly concerning to the 35th District as many workers drive long distances for work. Transportation improvements are necessary for improved safety, congestion relief and freight mobility. Yet, we must rebuild the public trust after high-profile project delays and overruns, such as cracked pontoons of the 520 bridge and Bertha, before expecting taxpayers to simply pay more for these projects.
I would like to hear from you on an issue that is receiving some attention in Olympia this session. House Bill 1739 has been introduced to abolish the death penalty in Washington state. I have had meetings with constituents who feel strongly about this issue making arguments both for and against it. Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey to share your view on the death penalty in Washington state.
Please take a moment to fill out the survey by clicking here.
Finally, in the coming days and weeks our committee work will turn to voting on bills, to determine if they will move on for further consideration. I hope you will take the time to contact me throughout the session on issues important to you and our community. My door is always open, and I am happy to listen to your concerns and ideas. You play a critical role in the legislative process and together we can make it morning again in America.