Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is the last day of the 105-day legislative session and we have just adjourned. Unfortunately, a special session is on the horizon — an outcome that is disappointing for everyone.
We are headed to overtime primarily because of one issue: the operating budget. The governor and House Democrats want to spend roughly $1 billion more than the state plans to take in for regular tax collections in the next budget cycle that begins July 1. To do so, they would increase taxes on Main Street sectors of our fragile economy.
Our state plans to take in $2 billion more in tax collections in the upcoming budget cycle than the current one (2011-13). With this in mind, House Republicans and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus believe taxes should not be raised and the operating budget can be balanced by setting priorities. We are also advocating for reforms that would help grow our economy and ensure accountability in our public schools that the governor and House Democrats have opposed.
Some things are worth fighting for — no matter how long it takes. We don't want a special session, but the alternative is accepting an approach that has led to many of the problems our state faces today.
Governor Inslee has been summoning state lawmakers to his office to talk about various issues. We appreciate his invitations and involvement. If there is one person in Olympia who could bring the two sides together to agree on one approach, it is the governor. All he would have to do is keep his promises to oppose tax increases and grow the economy. The governor made these promises publicly at least seven times — not only as a candidate, but after being elected. If tax increases were taken off the table, the budget debate would simplify and move forward.
We respect the governor and want to work with him, but he should be held accountable for his promises. It is what voters expect and deserve. We will continue to share our solutions (see below) with the governor, his team and all Democrats.
In closing, I want to thank my House Republican colleagues for electing me as their leader yesterday. It is an honor to lead such a talented, dedicated and compassionate group. You can learn more here.
Please stay involved in the legislative process and share your perspectives with us. We appreciate it.
In your service,