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Greetings from Olympia!
This week brought another of the deadlines for bills to continue through the legislative process. The House Democrats unveiled their spending proposal to meet the state’s obligation to fund education and pay for other state services for the next two years. Unfortunately, it is just a spending wish list because it requires billions in more taxes that the House majority does not intend to bring up for a vote. While it does make investments in many areas of state government, the House proposal still spends less money on education – despite over $3 billion in new taxes – than the Senate’s complete and funded budget that does not include a general tax increase.
Our state is expected to collect $3 billion more in taxes generated from economic activity. Our budget prioritizes spending on education. As one of my colleagues noted, we put the first dollar, not the last dime, toward education, unlike the House Democrats’ proposal.
House Democrats fail to act for our state’s rural families
If you’ve been watching the news, you may have heard about the Hirst court decision. This ruling from the state’s Supreme Court in late 2016 effectively stopped home building in rural parts of our state. The court threw out decades of water law and placed the burden on local jurisdictions to make determinations about water availability before issuing permits. This is something that the state already does and a task counties don’t have the resources or technical expertise to do. So what happens? The costs of the studies required are placed on property owners hoping to build a life on their parcel and even if they pay the thousands of dollars for the studies, there is no guarantee a permit will be issued.
I sponsored Senate Bill 5239 to fix the Hirst ruling and bring some common sense back to Olympia. I am dismayed that the House Democrats failed to act before the deadline to approve the bill. They did not bring any solutions and ignored the numerous people who testified in public hearings about their plight. Some invested their life savings, only to be told they couldn’t drill a well.
The House majority has essentially said they don’t care. While the wealthy may be able to afford the studies, average property owners are stuck without relief.
I am committed to fixing this issue before the Legislature adjourns on April 23. When I came to Olympia to begin the 2017 legislative session, I knew that education was going to be at the forefront of our work, but the impacts of Hirst became very clear and the time to act is now.
I issued a statement on the House’s failure that you can read here.
You can learn more about the issue, and see what newspapers and stakeholders are saying by visiting these websites.
It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your state government. Please watch your email, as I look forward to providing you with regular updates throughout the session.
13th District Senator
103 Irv Newhouse Bldg.
P.O. Box 40410
Olympia, WA 98504
Click here to visit my website