Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have roughly 30 days and counting left to get things done in this 105-day session. What's next at this stage of the game? Budgets. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (SMCC) and the House Democrats recently proposed their 2017-19 operating budgets. On March 23, Senate Bill 5048 passed the Senate chamber on a party-line vote, 25-24. On March 27 and 28, House Bill 1067 will be heard by the House Committee on Appropriations. They will then vote to pass or not pass the proposed budget. If it passes, it could come to the House floor for a final vote as soon as next week.
31st District Telephone Town Hall
Monday, March 27
Don't forget! Join me, and Rep. Drew Stokesbary, from the comfort of your own home for a community conversation. This telephone town hall is similar to a call-in radio program. We will take your questions and provide our perspectives on your concerns and issues on the 2017 legislative session.
When: Monday, March 27
Time: 6-7:00 p.m.
To participate: Call (253) 258-3247
If you are unable to participate, or would like to leave your question beforehand, please click here, or on the photo below.
Brief overview of the 2017-19 SMCC budget | SB 5048
Here is a breakdown of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus' operating budget proposal. This is not the final budget. It will undergo many changes before it's passed into law. There are some good things about this proposal, and some concerning things. This is the first step in a long negotiation process.
The number one priority in this budget proposal is education. Education funding will double over the next decade (2011: $13 billion to 2021: $27 billion). It builds on previous investments of $4.6 billion in additional spending over the last two budget cycles. This investment in our education system prioritizes funding to over 50 percent of the operating budget for the first time in years, the highest it has been since 1983. This budget proves education is the state's first and foremost funding obligation.
This budget proposal does not include new taxes, or create major tax increases. It holds the line to no state income tax, no capital gains income tax, no increased sales tax, no carbon tax, no taxes on bottled water, and no increased taxes on border county economic activity. It also creates a fair and equitable state property tax system. This proves that government can live within its means when it properly prioritizes current revenues.
This budget proposal funds public safety and helps to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Where mutual ground wasn't found this session on our current use of deadly force statute, this budget is a small starting point and step in the right direction by including funding for eight new 'deadly force' law enforcement training classes. It also prioritizes taking care of the most vulnerable and those with mental health issues by making sizable down payments on needed services. It also includes significant investments to protect foster children and those with developmental disabilities.
Lastly, this budget is sustainable. It recognizes the increased revenue projections coming from you, the taxpayer, shouldn't be used to create more government programs. This budget also leaves our state's 'Rainy Day Fund' intact, and healthy, with nearly $2 billion in reserves.
There are some concerns with this budget, including the impacts to local governments, especially those that are already struggling. These concerns with be discussed in the negotiation process.
With any budget proposal, there are many holes and gaps to fill in, areas of concern and disagreements. One thing is clear – our citizens deserve their state government to live within its means. The budgets are at the starting line, the race will continue, and in the next 30 days, we will hit the finish line!
More details will follow on the House Democrats operating budget proposal after the committee hearing and vote. Stay tuned!
The Dori Monson Show | KIRO Radio 97.3
This week, I had the great opportunity to participate on The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio. We had an excellent discussion on the Sound Transit 3 (ST3) issues and the impacts our district is feeling. Thank you very much to Dori and his staff! I enjoyed being on his program and look forward to doing it again. You can listen to my interview by clicking here, or on the photo below.
It's an honor to serve you.