Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to thank everyone who participated in a telephone town hall Feb. 25 with me and Rep. David Taylor. More than 400 people joined us for the hour-long conversation. We talked about everything from health care to the state budget, and from education to taxes. We asked two poll questions during the call. Here are the results:
1. What should be protected in the state budget as the Legislature balances a $2.7 billion shortfall?
Global warming 3%
Public safety 23%
Social services 16%
235 total votes
2. There are several proposals from the governor and majority Democrats to increase taxes. Which one of the following do you support?
Bottled water 7%
Candy and pop 12%
Gas and household cleaners 2%
General sales tax increase 10%
No taxes should be increased 66%
229 total votes
There are just three days remaining in this year's session, scheduled to adjourn March 11. Last Friday, the House passed out a budget I believe is unsustainable and does not take government efficiencies seriously. I voted 'no.' This year's budget reduces spending just one percent from last year, and the two-year budget only reduces spending by four percent from the previous budget, when we enjoyed a budget surplus. Read the statement Rep. Taylor and I sent to the press here.
Just last night, the House voted on a massive tax increase measure which, is one of the largest tax increase in state history. Tax increases within the proposal include candy, bottled water, livestock nutrient management, canned meat and fruit/vegetable products, direct sellers like Avon and more. I voted 'no' on this nearly $700 million tax increase package. There are still two more major tax increase measures yet to come.
You can read more about the budget and tax proposals here. Between now and the end of session, the budget and tax increases could change quite a bit as the House and Senate must agree on the same budget and taxes. After session, I will update you on the final budget and tax increases.
Last week, I was honored to sponsor a resolution acknowledging the important contributions of Filipino-Americans in our communities. The Yakima Valley has benefited for about a century from the rich heritage of our Filipino American friends. Rey and Sandra Pascua (Wapato), from the Yakima Valley Filipino American National Historical Society were in attendance with a dozen other Filipino Americans from around the state.
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. It's an honor to serve you.