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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This year's 60-day legislative session will be coming to a close one week from today. While we've done some good things this session, it also feels like we've missed some big opportunities. For example, despite our state's $14+ billion budget surplus, the supplemental operating budget we passed on Saturday doesn't provide any meaningful tax relief for you and your family. House Republicans introduced a budget amendment that would have permanently cut the state sales tax by a half-point, but it was rejected. In my remarks on the amendment, I reminded my colleagues that the budget surplus we have is because of you, not us. It's your money, and we should have taken the opportunity to give some of it back to you through a tax cut.

During the budget debate, I introduced two amendments of my own. One would have significantly bolstered our state's rainy-day fund. The other would have allocated $100 million in unspent stimulus funds to fund the police through:

  • $5,000 signing and retention bonuses.
  • $90,000 grants to local law enforcement agencies for body camera costs.
  • Funding for 10 additional Basic Law Enforcement Academy classes in each fiscal year, for a total of 25 classes per year.
  • $150,000 for a study and recommendations on police officer recruitment and retention efforts, police staffing levels and how those compare to recommended levels, how much is spent on policing in Washington as compared to other states, and how to address police recruitment and retention over the long term.

At a time when crime is rising and our state ranks last in the nation in terms of the number of police officers per thousand people, we have to get serious about improving public safety. I was deeply disappointed this amendment was rejected because we have an obligation to ensure all communities in Washington are safe.

Below is a mashup of our speeches on the amendment:

On final passage, I expressed deep reservations about the fact that we are not putting ourselves in a good position to weather a serious economic downturn in the future. The budget we passed spends $65 billion in state funds, an increase of $6.2 billion (10.5%) over current 2021-23 spending, but only leaves a small four-year ending fund balance of $221 million. I believe that's a mistake, and made that clear in my remarks on final passage:

You can view a mashup of House Republican speeches on final passage here.

Washington must immediately divest from Russia

Like the rest of the world, I am appalled by the recent actions of the Russian government and Vladimir Putin. Invading Ukraine under false pretenses is an affront to human rights, attacks the principle of self-governance, and threatens the very existence of a free Ukraine. Yesterday, Rep. Drew Stokesbary and I introduced a bill that would require all state agencies in Washington to cancel their outstanding contracts with Russian companies. It would also require the State Investment Board to divest from its pension and other investments in Russian companies. It is critical we ensure Putin's government does not profit from Washington taxpayers as it carries out an unprovoked and unjust war.

House Bill 2135 has been referred to the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.

Contacting me

Please continue reaching out to 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.

Sincerely,


Drew MacEwen

State Representative Drew MacEwen, 35th Legislative District
RepresentativeDrewMacEwen.com
427A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
drew.macewen@leg.wa.gov
(360) 868-6304 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000