Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Topics in this update include:
- A word on last week's town hall meeting in Shelton
- Legislature working to fund coronavirus response efforts
- Democratic majority rejects House Republican tax cut proposals
As always, I welcome you to contact me any time with your comments, questions or concerns. My email address is Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7902.
A word on last week's town hall meeting in Shelton
Before I get to policy updates, I first wanted to extend my thanks to everyone who attended the town hall meeting Rep. Griffey and I held at Oakland Bay Junior High School in Shelton last week. Being able to hear directly from 35th District residents, whether at sit-down meetings here at the Capitol or during meetings and town halls in district, helps me do my job more effectively. I strongly believe government is better when citizens get involved and make their voices heard, so thank you again to everyone who came out!
Legislature working to fund coronavirus response efforts
My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of those who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus. Yesterday, the House passed a bill (HB 2965) to allocate $100 million from the state's Rainy Day Fund for response efforts. This is a serious virus, and we must do everything we can to stop its spread.
I believe this is an appropriate use of Rainy Day Fund dollars, as does every member of the House, which is why the bill passed 96-0. We are united in working to keep Washington residents safe and healthy. I talked about that this morning during my weekly session interview on IFiberOneNewsRadio.
I also touched on my education reform bill, HB 2040, which seeks to provide financial relief to non-high school districts in the 35th and around the state. You can learn more about the bill here. It was approved 98-0 in the House and 49-0 in the Senate, and now heads to the governor's desk.
Democratic majority rejects House Republican tax cut proposals
Last month, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released the latest revenue forecast for the state. While many of us expected revenues to increase, we didn't expect a massive surge of $1.1 billion in new revenue that would result in a $2.4 billion budget surplus. Upon learning about this new surplus, House Republicans immediately began thinking of ways to provide tax relief for Washington families. All 40 of us signed on to a bill (HB 2946) sponsored by Rep. Drew Stokesbary to provide $1 billion in tax relief. For their part, House Democrats began drafting a budget focused on spending almost all of our $2.4 billion surplus.
When the majority party brought their budget to the House floor for a vote this past Friday, we offered two alternative budgets that would have implemented the governor's supplemental budget proposal in exchange for tax relief. One budget, proposed by Rep. Stokesbary, focused on delivering voter-approved $30 car tabs and sales tax relief on grocery items and personal necessities. The other budget, proposed by Rep. Jim Walsh, focused on providing meaningful property tax relief. House Democrats rejected both, opting to instead approve their own budget. Watch:
When the majority's budget is signed into law by the governor later this session, the Legislature will have increased spending nearly 75% since 2013. That's irresponsible, unsustainable, and extremely short-sighted.
As I said in my floor speech, a recession is coming. It may not hit this year or next year, but we know good economic times don't last forever. Instead of spending almost all of our $2.4 billion surplus, we should've provided some tax relief for Washington families and saved the rest.
Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions and concerns. My email address is Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7902.
It is an honor to serve you.