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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This is the 32nd day of the 105-day session.

Energizing economic growth

On Wednesday, the House passed two proposals (House Bill 1091 and Senate Bill 5135) to preserve benefits to unemployed workers as well as to provide permanent tax relief for employers. This year, employers would have seen an average 36 percent increase in unemployment insurance taxes, a huge burden on those who are trying to grow our economy and create jobs. Meanwhile, more than 300,000 people are looking for work.

I was proud to support these bipartisan measures, which passed the House unanimously, and that my background in business provided a key insight to our discussion in Olympia. After the governor signs the bills, unemployed people will see their benefits preserved through November. Employers will receive notices that the social portion of the unemployment tax will be reduced or remain the same as last year, and will take effect retroactive to January 1. While we are technically out of the recession, our economy is still struggling right now, and I believe we did the right thing to provide relief and aid in job growth. It's a tragedy this relief came too late for many businesses and employees. I've spoken to many 2nd District employers who say this legislation now gives them the stability to create jobs.

Town halls

Last week, I held my first telephone town hall. I had a great time answering questions from many of you, and was pleased with the level of participation from the district. We had more than 100 people that wanted to ask me questions, but we only had time to speak live with 18 callers. We are working on returning everyone's calls as soon as we can. At one point, we had 528 people listening into the call, many more than would be able to participate in an in-person town hall. I'm excited about having an easy way to connect with you in the middle of the legislative session. If you were able to take part in the call, I would love your thoughts.

I will still be holding in-person town halls throughout the district with my seatmates, Sen. Randi Becker and Rep. Jim McCune.

Saturday, March 12th
9:00 – 10:30 a.m. | Rosemont Assisted Living in Yelm
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Roy City Hall
1:30 – 3:00 p.m. | Central Pierce Fire District in Spanaway

Saturday, March 19th
8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | Eatonville Community Center
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Orting Senior Center
1:30 – 3 p.m. | Graham Fire and Rescue

We are still looking into holding a meeting in Rainier. I hope you can join us for one of these community conversations.

Open government
I have heard from many of you that you have lost trust in your government. Last week, I supported a proposal on the House floor that would require the final budget document to sit for a full 72 hours before we vote on it. The full House ended up agreeing on 24 hours to review the final operating budget proposal.  It's better than nothing, but in my view, it is not nearly enough time. My House Republican colleagues and I believe allowing citizens and lawmakers time to review where $30 billion will be spent is critical to rebuilding trust in government.

I appreciate receiving your comments and questions. It is truly an honor to represent you in Olympia.

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