Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm back in Olympia for the 2014 legislative session. I fully expect the Legislature to get its work done on time this year and adjourn after the 60-day session on March 13. I will keep you updated as the session progresses on issues that could impact the 15th Legislative District and the rest of the State. Please know that my office in Olympia is always open to hear from folks back home with questions, concerns or comments on state government or other issues that have an impact on our communities. Your input and continued participation in the process is extremely vital to our form of government.
It is a privilege and honor to serve you in Olympia.
Staying involved – staying connected
I want to make sure you have every opportunity to be involved in what goes on in Olympia. This is YOUR government. Accessibility to the legislative information and action is paramount to being an involved citizenry. Here are a few ways you can stay connected this year:
- Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- The Current – An online publication from House Republicans to include you in the legislative process. Click here to subscribe.
- Capitol Report – A three-minute weekly radio program (aired weekly on KARY in Yakima) that discusses current issues of the 15th District and the state. Click here to sign up for my RSS podcast. You can also get all of the Washington House Republican Capitol Report programs on your iPhone and iPad through the iTunes store by clicking here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/capitol-report-washington/id579017734. I'm a frequent guest on KIT in Yakima as well.
- Check out my Web site – www.representativebrucechandler.com. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org
- Legislature's Web site – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov
Please share this e-newsletter with everyone you know and encourage them to sign up for it from my Web site at: www.representativebrucechandler.com.
As many of you may know, I was recently chosen to serve as the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. This new position as the “budget leader” for House Republicans is either an honor or a punishment, depending on who you talk to – and a lot more microphones being thrust my way. Either way, I'm honored my colleagues chose me for this position and humbled by their confidence in me to express our budget principles and priorities to the governor's office and other legislators.
Unlike the last several years, the Legislature enters this session WITHOUT a significant budget shortfall. In fact, the latest information about our state's 2013-15 biennial budget shows that we're projected to have an ending fund balance of around $377 million. This is just enough “in the black” to make the statutory changes needed in the 2014 supplemental budget. The supplemental budget is used to make the small adjustments necessary so that we stay within current revenues and we continue to meet our obligations.
On the other hand, if any of you watched Gov. Jay Insee's State of the State Address last week, you know that he's proposed a litany of new programs and new spending. While some of his ideas might be good, now is not the time to enact such large spending increases. Our hardworking taxpayers don't need an additional tax burden. As the new budget leader for House Republicans, my focus will be on advocating for state budgets that increase accountability, transparency, predictability and sustainability.
If you want more information on the three budgets – operating, transportation and capital – click here for a quick summary on each.
My seatmate, Rep. David Taylor, and I will be hosting a telephone town hall for all 15th District residents on Tuesday, March 4 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Just call toll-free 1-800-291-9241 and you can participate with your neighbors in this “Community Conversation.” These events have been very successful in the past and help us keep in touch with you. You can ask us questions, take our survey or just listen in from the comfort of your own home. I hope you're able to join us.