Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In my last e-mail, I shared with you the dozens of average people and employers who turned out to oppose the $1.2 billion in tax increases proposed by House Democrats. As a result of public testimony, and your calls and e-mails, that tax package now stands at $879 million. This is still too much cost to be borne by the people on Main Street, and more than we need, since we are already expecting $2 billion more in the next budget cycle than the current. You can read more about my vote against the tax increases in the House chamber here (a last minute amendment reduced the tax package from $905 million to $879 million) and watch my speech on the House floor here:
Since the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus introduced a budget that does not increase taxes, and the House Democrats and Governor Inslee want to increase taxes, an agreement could not be found before the end of the regular session. We adjourned April 28 and the governor has called for a special session to begin May 13. This will be my third year in the Legislature, and the third time work has not been completed on time. Though it's disappointing, we will be keeping costs to a minimum by ending state jobs that were temporary during regular session and sending home members who are not needed for negotiations.
I may be called as a member of House Republican leadership team to take part in those negotiations. My focus will be on finding agreement and putting forward solutions, while keeping taxpayers and the most vulnerable in the forefront of my mind. While many special interest groups have lobbyists in Olympia, I'm here to serve taxpayers, who have no lobbyists.
Don't get me wrong – I'm not in favor of every tax incentive and we should thoroughly vet their intent and purpose. All must be passed by the Legislature, serve a specific purpose and continue to be effective. In general though, tax increases are the wrong direction because what we need to do is grow our state economy which will in turn provide more funding for the state's priorities and jobs for the people of Washington.
Speaking of growing the economy, there are two major employment opportunities near our district. State Farm is set to hire 300 people this summer in Tacoma in a building that once held Russell Investments but has been vacant. And Amazon.com has said it will be opening a distribution center in DuPont this fall.
While these large businesses are important and provide many jobs in our state, small businesses are the backbone of our economy. It is the smaller businesses that have continued to employ 5, 10, or 25 people throughout the recession. And unfortunately, it is they who will bear the greatest burden if the currently proposed tax increases pass the Legislature in the special session.
Please continue to call, write or even arrange for a meeting with me to share your concerns, suggestions or questions. It's an honor to serve you.