Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today is the 81st day of the 105-day legislative session, and we continue to wait on budget proposals to balance our state's $5 billion shortfall. In this week's video update, I discuss workers' compensation reform and education funding. I also ask for your ideas to balance our budget. Record your own video, upload it to YouTube and send my office the link. Or, you can simply write in with your ideas. I'll feature the some of the best ideas in future updates – so make your voice heard. Click here to view the video.
Last week, the Employment Security Department released updated figures for unemployment in our state. I was concerned to see our 2nd District currently has the highest number of unemployment claims in the state. Getting Washington back to work is one of my highest priorities, along with balancing the budget. That's why I'm supporting a package of bills to spur economic growth in our district and across the state.
The legislation focuses on:
- creating private-sector jobs;
- protecting taxpayers; and
- restoring trust and accountability in government.
The key here is stability. When consumers have confidence to buy and employers have confidence to hire, working families can achieve the American dream. We all want quality schools, safe communities and to take care of the most vulnerable citizens. A stronger economy is how we pay for these things now and into the future.
Here are just some of the proposals I'm supporting to get Washington working again:
- House Bill 1156 – would freeze all new rules and regulations created by state agencies until 2014, or when the economy recovers.
- House Bill 1672 – would double the small business tax credit to incentivize start-ups.
- House Bill 1961 – would require permit decisions to be made within 90 days, or else the permit is granted.
- House Bill 1150 – would provide a seven-day grace period for small businesses to correct violations before fines are imposed.
Meanwhile, there are several proposals here in the Legislature I believe would put the hammer down on economic growth and killing the entrepreneurial spirit. Here are a few bills that concern me:
- House Bill 2008 – would increase fees on forest practices for a program that requires approval for any project around the waters in the state. See the job-killing testimony by the sponsor of the legislation about fees here – testimony begins at 15:45 into the video.
- House Bill 1701 – would create a violation and penalty if a contractor engages more than two independent contractors to work on a single job site. This is simply hostile to small businesses.
- House Bill 1735 – would authorize the Department of Ecology to collect a 1 percent fee on the wholesale value of petroleum products, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. This would seriously hurt agriculture, one of the largest employers in the state.
In this last leg of the session, I want you to know I remain committed to ensuring the Legislature takes action to stabilize our economy and get us on the path of recovery. Working people not only contribute to our economy, but do not require as much government assistance.
I enjoy hearing from you – please feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or suggestions. It's an honor to serve you in the Legislature.