Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we make our way through the fourth week of session in the Legislature, here's an update on some of the big issues we're dealing with. If you have any questions or comments on the topics I cover, please feel free to contact me. Thanks and have a great week!
Watch my video updates
Every week I tape video updates to discuss the latest happenings in the Legislature. You can click below to watch my most recent ones.
In this first segment, I talk about an incident that happened last week on the House floor that I call “The Great Gaveling.” One of the things we should expect in the legislative process is fairness, and when people aren't dealt with fairly I think we need to stand up. Here's my take.
In my second segment, I discuss Gov. Inslee's latest tax increase proposals. It seems as though the governor has focused most of his attention lately on raising taxes.Based on your feedback to my office, here are my thoughts.
Taking some of the sting out of Obamacare
People throughout the 2nd District and the whole state have been hit hard by Obamacare. Despite the promises of more affordable health coverage and “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” we've seen insurance premiums skyrocket – doubling, sometimes tripling – along with deductibles. Patients are also losing access to their doctors and hospitals.
The Legislature has a limited role in Obamacare, since it's largely a federal issue, but we can demand greater transparency and more information from our state Insurance Commissioner about how the law is implemented.
I've proposed legislation that would beef up oversight of Obamacare implementation, and require the Insurance Commissioner to provide more comprehensive and timely data on enrollment.
This is particularly important because at the end of this year, the Obamacare employer mandate will kick in. Companies with 50 or more employees will have to participate or pay a fine. The Washington Post recently reported that “the disruption [caused by the employer mandate] will be far greater, potentially affecting millions of people who receive insurance through small employers by the end of 2014.”
Given all the problems people have already had with Obamacare, we need to do everything we can to prevent further harm.
More action needed on jobs
Back in November, in a special session, the Legislature approved tax incentives designed to encourage Boeing to build the 777x plane here. I voted yes because we need those jobs, and we needed to send a message to Boeing that we want it to continue doing business here.
However, we've got a problem with our business climate all around the state, including in the 2nd District. Employers everywhere struggle with burdensome taxes and over-the-top regulations. Regular people who just want to build their own company and provide jobs for other people find themselves at odds with their own government. Wouldn't it be great if we could change things and make Washington more friendly to job-creators?
This year Republicans in the House have offered up some bills we believe will help promote jobs, in particular:
- Requiring state agencies to process permit applications more quickly. This would be especially helpful to employers who need certain permits to operate their businesses. A recent state audit found that state agencies are not providing good enough customer service to permit applicants.
- Giving rural counties a sales tax exemption for manufacturing, research & development. This would encourage good-paying jobs in our rural areas, including the 2nd District.