Dear Friends and Neighbors,
There are less than 30 days left in the 2019 legislative session, but there are still a number of big issues left to tackle. Among these are our states three budgets – operating, capital and transportation. In this email update, I want to take some time to chat with you about the 2019-21 operating budget.
On Friday, the House passed a new, two-year state operating budget, with Democrats voting 'yes,' and Republicans voting 'no.' This budget now advances to the Senate for further consideration, and budget leaders from each of the four caucuses will come together to negotiate a final plan.
The $53 billion budget increases state spending by $8.6 billion, or by 19.4 percent above the current 2017-19 budget cycle, and calls for a tax increase of more than $4 billion. This is despite our state's record revenue growth and an additional $3 billion in available resources. We have plenty of money to fund all of our state's budget priorities without raising a penny more. There's no need to place an even greater financial burden on the backs of hardworking Washingtonians.
This spending plan is unsustainable. Since 2013, a year after our governor took office, state spending has increased by 70 percent. How many of our citizens have seen that kind of growth in their own budgets? My guess is not many.
This budget also put us in some dangerous territory. About 80 percent of economists warn a downturn is coming, possibly as early as 2022. With that in mind, it's unconscionable to me that our governor and House Democrats would continue to pursue their compulsive tax-and-spend policies, which will undoubtedly cool our currently hot state economy. We cannot repeat the same mistakes the state made in 2007 and 2008, which led to painful cuts during the Great Recession. I sincerely hope budget writers can come to the table in the next few weeks with more reasonable and sustainable proposals than what we debated on Friday.
'Like' my Facebook page
Did you know I have an official, legislative Facebook page? If you're on Facebook, I encourage you to 'like' and 'follow' my page, and join in on the community conversation!
Telephone Town Hall recap
Thank you to everyone who joined me, Rep. Jenny Graham, and Sen. Jeff Holy last Tuesday for a telephone town hall. We had more than 230 people participate throughout the hourlong call, and we covered a variety of topics. During the event, we also asked participants to answer three poll questions. Here were the responses:
Question 1: Knowing that our state is seeing record tax collections and has more than $5 billion in additional revenue compared to the last time our two-year budget was written, do you support a plan by Governor Inslee and majority Democrats to impose additional taxes and increase government spending?
Question 2: Do you support efforts to eliminate the death penalty from state law?
Question 3: Would you support removing the personal or parental exemption for the MMR vaccine?
If you weren't able to join us last Tuesday, please know you can always reach out to me with your questions and ideas by calling (360) 786-7922 or emailing me at Mike.Volz@leg.wa.gov.
It's an honor serving you!