Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The regular legislative session adjourned Friday, April 22, however the governor called a special session April 26. The Constitution allows a special session to last 30 days. Budget writers in the House and Senate are working on an agreement that both chambers can accept to balance the $5.2 billion shortfall. What we do now determines our state's course for several years down the road, so we must balance the budget right the first time. I'm ready and willing to be part of the solution for a budget that follows these principles. We must get the state's spending back on a sustainable path, and provide value to tax and fee payers.
Constitutional debt limit
One proposal that could come up during the special session is a measure to reduce the state's constitutional debt limit. Senate Joint Resolution 8215 would take a larger look at our state's revenue to gradually reduce our state's debt limit from 9 percent to 7 percent. This would not only reduce the burden on the operating budget to save more for essential services, but would also ensure we have critical infrastructure funding when we need it most – during recessions.
Water storage meetings
The Federal Bureau of Reclamation is looking into water storage options in the Yakima Basin. There are public meetings being held to take public comments on current plans, including one in Yakima on Thursday. If you would like to attend, two open house/scoping meetings are planned for 1:30-3:30 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. at the Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Way, Yakima. I am a strong believer in water storage as an option to address water use challenges, especially during the summer months.
I will be planning meetings with constituents and community groups for the summer and fall, once special session has concluded. I would be happy to provide your group a review of the 2011 Legislature, or just to sit down and chat with you about questions or concerns you have. Please feel free to contact my office to set up a meeting.
It's an honor to serve you.