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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Being your representative is an honor as well as a responsibility I do not take lightly. It's important for me to hear about the issues that are important to you and how you think I should represent you in Olympia.

I want to invite you to join me for a unique opportunity. On Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m., I will be hosting an hour-long live telephone town hall. This works much like a call-in radio show, where I take questions from callers live over the phone. If you would like to take part in this community conversation, just call toll-free (877) 229-8493, then enter PIN number 17544. Your call is welcome beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Budget update

On Monday, the House voted on two different proposals to start closing the gap on the 2011 supplemental budget.

I voted for one and against another. The majority proposal lacks sustainability and uses budget gimmicks. I understand cuts must be made, but I support education over some social programs. The majority proposal takes heavy cuts in education, rather than other programs. It also makes retroactive cuts to education, forcing school districts to give back funding they have likely already spent on teachers and staff in the classrooms.

Instead, I supported an alternative proposal (you can read it here) by Rep. Gary Alexander of Olympia, which would have saved more education dollars by eliminating large social programs. As a former chief financial officer for my family business, I know what it means to put my name on a fiscal document that will last for years to come. This is why I could not support the proposal voted out of the House by the majority, and was proud to back Gary's proposal.

You can read the text of my speech here (it's more than half way down the page).

Legislative mailbag
Here's this week's constituent letter and my response:

Constituent: “I urge you to oppose House Bill 1134. When we apply for these special [collector vehicle] plates, it was presented to us by the state that we would pay a ONE TIME license fee.  Restrictions are that this vehicle be 30 years old or older, that we not put this vehicle in general use,  and that it be kept for driving to and from historic events, or displays, or official club functions. NO OTHER USES. When we request this special plate, we understood those restrictions. Passage of this bill would violate that agreement and trust, as well as be a major expense to those of us that enjoy the ownership of these historic vehicles, and share that experience with others.”

My response: Looking at this bill, I see it would add a $30 renewal fee on those who own collectors' vehicles. This seems to be an unfair increase on fees on people who enjoy these vehicles as a hobby, not for regular use. The idea behind license tab fees is to keep up roads used by those vehicles. However, collector's vehicles are rarely driven, and I believe should continue to be exempt from an annual renewal fee. I do not support this bill.

As a side note, we are seeing many fee increase proposals in Olympia, and I see it as a grab for more revenue without the requirement for the Legislature to have a two-thirds majority to take more money from your pockets.

Please, feel free to call, e-mail or me visit me in Olympia. Thank you for the opportunity to represent you.

Sincerely,


J.T. Wilcox

State Representative J.T. Wilcox, 2nd Legislative District
RepresentativeJTWilcox.com
335C Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
jt.wilcox@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7912 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000