Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Two weeks ago, lawmakers received good news when the state revenue forecast revealed a $2.4 billion budget surplus. For our part, House Republicans immediately began thinking about how to return this surplus to taxpayers. The majority party, on the other hand, said they had no such plans to provide tax relief. That became evident this past Friday when they brought their supplemental operating budget proposal to the House floor. Not only was it free of any tax relief, but it spent almost all of the state's $2.4 billion surplus.
Before we voted on final passage of the majority's proposal, House Republican Reps. Drew Stokesbary and Jim Walsh introduced striking amendments—essentially alternative budgets—that would have implemented the governor's supplemental budget proposal while also providing significant tax relief for Washingtonians. Stokesbary's budget offered $1 billion in tax relief through delivering $30 car tabs and eliminating the sales tax on all food bought at grocery stores, as well as the sales tax on a number of basic personal necessities. Walsh's budget offered $600 million per year in property tax relief.
For hours, House Republicans made the case for why the Legislature should return money to the hardworking taxpayers of Washington state. I invite you to watch the debate recap below and share it with your family and friends:
As has been the case all session, House Republicans fought hard for you and your family. It's unfortunate the majority party still refuses to provide tax relief, despite increasing spending nearly 75% since 2013.
Several big issues still in play this session
With just over one week left in the 2020 legislative session, many big issues are still in play: comprehensive sex education, gun magazine restrictions, the low-carbon fuel standard, and more. I joined KVI's John Carlson yesterday to discuss each of these issues, as well as how the Legislature is preparing for the potential long-term impact of the coronavirus. My heartfelt condolences go out to the families of the victims of the coronavirus, both here in Washington state and around the world. Following my chat with John, the House passed a bill (HB 2965) to appropriate $100 million from the Budget Stabilization Account (aka Rainy Day Fund) for response efforts. As a Legislature, we will do everything we can to help keep Washington residents safe and healthy.
Staying engaged and contacting me
To continue keeping tabs on the latest from Olympia, please follow House Republicans on Twitter and Facebook, and bookmark our legislative news aggregator, The Ledger. And as always, please feel free to contact me any time with your comments, questions and concerns about this year's session or anything else that's on your mind.
It is an honor to serve you.