Dear friends and neighbors,
It’s been 82 days of non-stop work for our communities, with only 23 days remaining until the end of session. I am eager to provide a brief update on some recent activity in the Legislature.
Senate Budget Proposal
The Senate introduced a comprehensive, $69.2 billion budget proposal for the next biennium — one that reflects our values, helps us build healthier communities, works to provide a home for everyone and success for every child, and includes a historic investment to address the climate crisis. The two-year operating budget adds roughly $5.1 billion in new spending and does not rely on any new general taxes or fees. It leaves $3.8 billion (11.2%) in total reserves to guard against an economic slowdown and protect the state’s historically high credit rating. Here are some of the highlights:
The Senate capital budget proposal passed the Washington State Senate on Friday on a unanimous vote. The $7.9 billion capital budget makes historic investments in affordable housing, behavioral health, environmental protection, school construction, and public safety. I’m particularly excited about the record-setting investments we’re making in affordable housing in this proposal which will bring us closer to ensuring that everyone in Washington has a safe and stable place to call home. Highlights include a record-setting $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund, part of a total of $625 million for housing investments.
A full list of projects and programs funded is available on fiscal.wa.gov.
The House also released their capital budget proposal — the two budgets will negotiate to a final agreement to be passed by both chambers before the end of session on Sunday, April 23.
Thank You for Attending Our Town Hall
I also want to sincerely thank everyone who joined our telephone town hall last week. I really appreciate your time and efforts to participate and make your voice heard. We talked about everything from health care access, public safety and protecting our environment to transportation and housing. We had a wonderful turnout and lots of great questions and discussion. It was great to hear from so many of our neighbors. Please stay in touch and I hope we can meet with you again soon.
If you missed the town hall, you can listen to the audio recording here.
Policy Cutoff Deadline
Wednesday we hit another critical deadline: opposite house policy cutoff. This means that it was the last day to move policy bills (that aren’t revenue related) out of committees. Bills that didn’t make it out of committee by yesterday will come back next session but are frozen in place for the rest of this session. The majority of our next four weeks will be spent on the Senate floor voting on bills.
Capital Gains Tax
The state Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold the constitutionality of Washington state’s capital gains excise tax — a major step forward to fixing our upside-down tax code. The capital gains tax is expected to bring in about $500 million a year for underfunded things like education and childcare. It does NOT apply to the sale of a home or commercial real estate, family-owned small businesses, retirement accounts, or agricultural and timber lands. Washington’s tax system has long been broken, and anything that makes it less slanted is overdue progress.
In Other News
Every year, I like to provide space for local artists and students to display their artwork in my office. This year, students from the 32nd District provided their work for display in my office. I’d like to thank the students at the Home Education Exchange and Shoreline School District for providing their hand drawn collections. I also want to thank the photography students at Lynnwood High School for their great work. It is an honor and pleasure to highlight the creativity of our residents in the 32nd! If you know of a local artist or student who would like to display their art in the office during the legislative session, have them contact my office for further information.
Thank you to everyone who continues to reach out! I appreciate your comments and enjoy hearing from you and about your interests and concerns for the session. You can always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 360-786-7662. You can also follow me on Facebook for regular updates throughout the coming months.