Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's policy and fiscal cutoff time – our first major deadlines of this 60-day session. What this means is any bill that hasn't been approved by its respective committee is considered 'dead.' Although no bill is truly 'dead' until the final gavel drops on the last day of session, most bills won't see any further movement. I'll keep you updated as the weeks continue on the good and bad policies that 'live' or 'die' as we move forward.
Giving people a second chance
As lawmakers, we strive to find the right solution for an issue. It's the nature of the work we do.
Last session, I teamed up with Democrat Rep. Drew Hansen of Bainbridge Island to create the New Hope Act – a criminal justice reform that helps people who have spent time in prison rebuild their lives. A criminal conviction can mean a lifetime of consequences that can affect employment, business opportunities, and housing. The New Hope Act expanded opportunities for people to vacate their criminal convictions after they turn their lives around.
This year, we are continuing our work on this important issue and have introduced the Clean Slate Act. To learn more about this important policy, please watch our testimony in the House Public Safety Committee. You can do so by clicking on the photo above, or by clicking here.
Fighting to keep our state affordable and accountable
Washington state continues to become more expensive as the majority party introduces policy after policy to create new taxes.
Recently, we had a long House floor debate fighting against another B&O (business and occupation) tax increase. Here's some background.
In 2019, the Legislature passed House Bill 2158, expanding the Washington College Grant program for students at or below 100 percent of the median family income, and making the program an entitlement. It raised the service B&O tax rate for certain industries. Due to the large number of students applying for this entitlement, this program is projected to operate at a deficit and would need to be backfilled by the state's General Fund.
This is where Senate Bill 6492 comes into play. This new proposal:
- Expands the B&O tax created last session through House Bill 2158 to 4,400 new businesses who provide 465,000 jobs.
- Affects a total of 14,000 businesses and 886,000 employees.
- Increases tax revenue from $216 million to $240 million.
This is a tax increase that will make life more unaffordable for Washington families and businesses. It will make health care and home construction more expensive, compounding the largest problems facing our state.
We believe every student should have the opportunity to pursue educational opportunities after high school, including workforce training programs. However, this tax increase is unnecessary as college scholarships will be funded without this policy. We have record revenues and should fund our priorities using existing resources.
This is another example of our unaccountable government. This bill was rushed through the process in order to fix a problem created by a bill rushed through the process last year.
The bill passed the House chambers late Thursday night by a vote of 52-45. There were five Democrats who joined us and voted against this bad policy. The bill has cleared the Senate and Governor Inslee will sign the bill into law on Monday, Feb. 10.
I will continue to fight against policies that make your way of life more expensive.
It's an honor to serve you.