Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today marks the 93rd day of the 105-day session. The House budget I wrote to you about in my last email passed the House on a party-line vote. I voted “no” because it depends on tax increases we don't need to have a responsible, sustainable budget.
Also since I last wrote you, the Senate Republican Caucus released their proposal to balance the state budget. Here's some of the highlights:
- No new tax increases.
- Spends $1 billion less than House Democratic proposal.
- Cuts higher education tuition by 25 percent at the state's four-year universities.
- Provides more than $1 billion in new funding for basic education to meet the requirements of the McCleary court case.
- Increases mental health funding.
While it's not a perfect proposal, it's refreshing to see a proposal that proves we don't need to increase taxes in order to balance the budget and fulfill our constitutional obligations. See the infographic included for a high-level comparison of the two budget proposals. Read more details of the Senate Republican proposal here.
With both budget proposals out, we now enter the negotiation phase of the session. With just 12 days left, we have to get serious about compromise and focus our efforts here. We not only can, but we should, finish the session on time April 26.
Transportation gas tax proposal still alive
While the Senate transportation tax package languished for some time in the House, just today the House Democrats released their own gas tax package. Here's a good summary of what they propose and what it means.
The capital budget, which is often called the “bricks and mortar” budget of the state, is funded by dedicated accounts and state-backed bonds. I'm pleased Rep. Kevin Parker and I were able to secure funding to help the future viability of Fairchild AFB. You can read more about about it here.
Lifetime trailer registration passes Senate
I'm excited that my proposal to provide lifetime registration for recreational trailers, House Bill 1480, passed the Senate 49-0 late last night. After three years of trying to get this approved in the Senate, I'm so happy the other chamber saw the efficiency in this for trailer owners and the one-time funding increase to the transportation budget.
As always, please feel free to contact my office anytime – I appreciate hearing from you. It's an honor to serve you.