Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank all of you who participated in the telephone town hall with me and Rep. David Taylor last Monday. We had involvement from people around the district and took some great questions. We heard from state employees, business owners, retirees and working families on issues ranging from education to health care, to the state budget and public safety. I value your comments and concerns.
On Thursday, March 17, the state's chief economist provided a forecast on our potential revenue for the next two years. He estimated a major drop in expected revenue by about $780 million. This means the Legislature must address about a $5.1 billion shortfall. Factored into this shortfall are policies which were approved in the past with no funding mechanism.
What's interesting is that this is not a drop in revenue from previous years (see chart at right). In fact, revenue is projected to increase by nearly $3 billion from 2009-11 to 2011-13. This reflects a need for our state to get its spending under control and streamline services to the people; 60 percent of those who participated in our telephone town hall agree.
When we asked callers on the telephone town hall what issue was most important to them, 38 percent responded with “jobs and the economy.” The Legislature must refocus its energies back on getting Washington working again in order to not only stabilize our economy, but also to set us up for a flourishing economy for years to come. I have supported several proposals to do just that.
Create private-sector jobs by:
- Providing unemployment tax relief and reform to keep and create jobs;
- Suspending mandates under the Growth Management Act for counties with greater than 7 percent unemployment rates to encourage new job opportunities to come into an area;
- Putting a freeze on agency rulemaking that harm economic growth; and
- Reforming the injured worker's fund to get people back to work sooner. This last proposal is very important to stabilizing our economy and creating jobs. Senate Bill 5566, reforming what's also known as worker's compensation, passed the Senate and is now awaiting action in the House. I will keep you updated on its progress.
Protect taxpayers by:
- Making permanent the two-thirds vote requirement for raising taxes in the Legislature;
- Providing property owners more fairness and transparency when dealing with property tax disputes; and
- Encouraging small business job creation by doubling the small business tax credit.
Restore trust and accountability in government by:
- Requiring local governments to notify landowners when they propose to rezone their land;
- Ensuring all taxes and fees have a clear basis in law; and
- Requiring state budget bills are given a 72-hour review period before being voted on by the House or Senate.
I'd like to know what you think about these proposals and how you think we can create jobs in our state. Please feel free to contact me anytime. It's an honor to serve you.