Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for taking part in my recent Budget/Revenue survey. We had great participation! A last-minute reminder brought in an extra 100 respondents. Your answers will be very helpful as I'm voting on legislation during the special session. In fact, the transportation fee bill I cited in the survey may be considered later this week on the House floor.
I have included the responses below. Since 94 percent said they would like me to conduct future online surveys, I plan to do these more frequently on issues affecting the 39th District. Your comments and suggestions are also welcome.
I would also like you to mark your calendar for a very important upcoming meeting. The Washington State Redistricting Commission will conduct a forum May 25 in Everett to give the public an opportunity to say how residents would draw new boundaries for 49 legislative districts and 10 congressional districts.
Redistricting happens every 10 years after census figures have been determined. This year, because of an increase in Washington's population, the state will be gaining an additional congressional district. Where that district is drawn will be determined by the Redistricting Commission after it has taken public testimony from areas throughout the state.
The upcoming meeting will be held Wednesday, May 25, at Everett Community College, Jackson Conference Center, 2000 Tower Street. The forum begins at 6 p.m. with public comments accepted from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
To learn more about the Washington State Redistricting Commission, go here.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you!
Once again, thank you for participating in my survey. Here are the results:
The state is expected to take in nearly $4 billion more in revenues during the 2011-13 biennium than the current 2009-11 biennium. The 2011-13 operating budget that passed the House (House Bill 1087) would spend $2.1 billion more than the current budget cycle (2009-11). Does the state have a spending problem or a revenue problem?
- The state has a spending problem and needs to reform, reset and restructure the state operating budget. 84.0%
- The state has a revenue problem and needs to find more money for the budget. 2.5%
- The state has a revenue and spending problem. The Legislature needs to increase taxes and fees, but also must restructure state government. 13.5%
The Office of Financial Management (OFM) in the Governor's office defines the difference between a tax and a fee as this: “A tax is a required contribution to the support of government exacted by legislative authority, ordinarily without regard to receipt for particularized or special benefits. A fee is a charge, fixed by law, for the benefit of a service or to cover the cost of a regulatory program or the costs of administering a program for which the fee payer benefits.” Do you feel a fee increase is the same as a tax increase?
- Yes 71.8%
- No 14.4%
- Agree with OFM's definition 11.4%
- Not sure 2.5%
A .5 percent restaurant sales tax dedicated to paying off the bonds on Safeco Field is expected to expire later this year. As soon as the bonds are retired, the tax is supposed to be terminated. A proposal in the Legislature would authorize King County to extend this tax through 2015
and another tax supporting Safeco, a rental-car tax, for a longer period to pay for arts, culture, workforce housing, tourism-related projects, and expansion of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. Should the stadium taxes be allowed to expire as promised. Or should they be extended to pay for other projects?
- The stadium taxes should be allowed to expire as promised. 93.0%
- The Legislature should authorize King County government to extend the stadium taxes should be extended to pay for other projects within in King County. 7.0%
Do you feel that a special session (at $16,000 a day) is justified given the fact the Legislature had 105 days in which to finish its work?
- Yes, given the budget circumstances the Legislature must address, it is justified to provide more time. 10.9%
- No, lawmakers knew before the session began in January what they were facing and they should have accomplished this work within the given period of time without an extra session. 84.7%
- Not sure 4.5%
What issue is most important to you?
- Jobs and the economy 58.2%
- The state budget 23.9%
- Education 11.4%
- Public safety 1.5%
- Health care 5.0%
The House Transportation Committee has approved a measure (House Bill 2053) that would increase nearly 90 different fees on such things as drivers' licenses, identicards, enhanced drivers' licenses, driver's training school, out-of-state license renewal, vehicle registration, and other transportation/vehicle-related uses to raise money for the state transportation budget. I want to know what you think about this proposal.
- I support increased fees to help fund transportation in the state. 12.9%
- I do not support this proposal. 74.6%
- Don't know. Need more information. 12.4%
320,400 people in March were unemployed and looking for work – including more than 6,400 in the 39th District. What should be the role of state government in getting Washington working again?
- Reduce taxes and reform the state's regulatory environment to make it easier for private-sector employers to hire again. 76.5%
- Increase government spending for capital construction projects such as building roads, schools, parks, etc. 6.5%
- A combination of each. 9.5%
- Not sure, need more information. 7.5%
This is the first time I have conducted an online survey. Would you like me to do more online surveys in the future on legislative issues involving the 39th District?
- Yes 94.1%
- No 0.5%
- No opinion 5.4%
In your service,