Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Rep. MacEwen in the media:
Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss my B&O reform plan with TVW. I was happy to share my thoughts on why I believe this reform is an important step forward for Washington's economy.
You can view the interview by clicking here.
It's hard to believe we have just a few weeks left in the 2015 regular session. House committees are busy hearing Senate bills and Senate committees are hearing House bills. Yet much work remains to be done, including passing the budget. With an almost 9 percent increase in revenue, the highest collection in our state's history, this can – and should – be done by April 26. Special sessions are costly and unnecessary and I'm committed to adjourning on time with a balanced budget that does not raise your taxes.
I have heard from a lot of you about the transportation revenue package passed by the Senate. This package included some reforms to WSDOT, but it also included a nearly 12 cent-per-gallon gas-tax increase. I am opposed to the gas-tax increase being proposed, as are many people I have heard from in the 35th District. Others say it is necessary to increase the gas tax in order to fund important projects including the Belfair Bypass in Mason County. Another option suggested to me has been using tolls to pay for the bypass should a transportation package not pass this year.
Some of you have taken the time to write in to tell me your thoughts on gas tax increases. Here is a sampling of that feedback:
- Since 2003 we are constantly bombarded with gasoline taxes or increased fees on the Narrows Bridge. The nickel tax, then a 9.5 tax, now 11.7, all of this in 13 years. Then there is Gov. Inslee's carbon fuel tax. This will push businesses out of Washington state. I am opposed to all of these measures. – Robert, Port Orchard
- Please support the Comprehensive Transportation Bill. No one likes to pay higher taxes but it is more important to have safe roads (intersection at Highway 101 and Lynch Road) and not waste time in traffic jams (Belfair Bypass). Both these projects have been needed for a long time. – Diane, Allyn
- I have this gut feeling that the 'road improvements' will be in King County…and we seldom use those roads…how about toll fees? – Cindy, Olympia
Like a lot of you, I remain skeptical that a transportation revenue package will contain enough meaningful reforms to really improve our transportation system. As the package moves through the process, it will undoubtedly change, perhaps significantly, and the much-needed reforms may not pack the punch they initially did. Without reform we are simply pouring more tax dollars into a flawed system.
Examples of reforms include streamlining the permitting process and designing projects based on freight mobility and congestion relief. Additionally, we must end the practice of selling bonds to pay for sales tax on transportation projects. I introduced House Bill 1358 to achieve that goal. These reforms are especially critical in areas of our state, and the 35th District, in need of expanded economic development opportunities. They must be included if we are to have a truly comprehensive transportation package that reflects the needs of the entire state, not just Seattle.
I am committed to reviewing the package as it moves through the legislative process, and will keep your thoughts in mind. Your voice is the most important to me in this process, and I want to hear from you. Please take a minute to fill out this brief survey on transportation funding.
This past week I was honored to recognize Gretchen Schodde, founder of Harmony Hill in Union, who was awarded the Washington State Medal of Merit. She has dedicated her life to public health and wellness in Mason County. Her work in founding Harmony Hill has helped thousands of people on their journey with cancer, as well as their families. Her staff at Harmony Hill, including executive director Eric Blegen, work tirelessly to provide support and hope to those they serve. I am proud to call Harmony Hill a neighbor in Union, and thank Gretchen for her continued work in Mason County.
Finally, please take a moment to watch my latest video update. In this video I provide an update on my bill to reform our states B&O tax, House Bill 2150, which received a public hearing last week. To watch my video, click here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this update. I am always encouraged when I receive email, letters or phone calls from you. It's great to see so many of you engaged in the legislative process. Please continue to contact me throughout session if you have questions, comments or concerns to share. I believe we can solve the issues facing our state by working together!