Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Have you felt the impacts from the 2021 legislative session? The increase in violent crime? Increase in fuel prices? Your overall tax burden increasing? A loss of liberty? Your voice matters now more than ever!
The 2022 legislative session begins Monday, Jan. 10. At this time, we are hearing from the majority party that the legislative session will once again be mostly remote with online committee meetings, very few staff, and little in-person public involvement. As the House Republican Floor Leader, I will once again spend the session in Olympia along with both of my seatmates who also serve in elected leadership roles. Here are ways you can stay involved in this remote session:
- How you can be involved in the legislative process: This includes a citizen's guide to effective legislative participation.
- TVW: The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- The Ledger: A legislative news aggregator that is updated frequently.
- Capitol Buzz: Sent out each weekday, featuring stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, and television.
- Testify remotely: You can testify remotely in all Senate and House committees during session. This link will be updated once session begins.
- My legislative website: You will find my contact information, news releases, opinion pieces, radio feeds, and more.
10 things you need to know
We have created a website that has important information for all Washingtonians. “The current state of Washington: 10 facts every citizen should know” is a quick primer that highlights some of the major issues facing lawmakers this legislative session and beyond. Did you know drug overdoses are at an all-time high? Why is that? Did you know violent crime is the highest it's been in 25 years? Did you know that state government spending has nearly doubled since Gov. Jay Inslee took office? Or that the average family will pay an additional $1,000/year in taxes due to tax increases passed by the majority party in Olympia? This, despite tax collections being at an all-time high?
I urge you to visit this website and familiarize yourself with these issues as we try to provide contrast to the way things have been vs. the way they are now.
Washington taxpayers continue to send more money to Olympia
Families around the state – and especially in the 7th Legislative District – continue to pay more for fuel, food, and daily necessities. This, despite the governor's low carbon fuel standard and his cap and tax program not going into full affect yet. This is why I fight for you in Olympia. The policies and politics at play here continue to have an adverse affect on struggling families and citizens in northeast Washington.
To make matters worse, state government is receiving more from taxpayers like you than ever before. The recently adopted November revenue forecast shows state revenue projections are up by nearly $2 billion over the next four years. This means that as lawmakers enter the 2022 legislative session, our state is looking at a budget surplus of about $8.8 billion over the next four years! On top of this, we still have $1.2 billion in unspent federal stimulus funds and another $1.2 billion in the state's Budget Stabilization Account (rainy day fund).
The new long-term care tax for all Washington employees goes into effect Jan. 1. Only those who have a state-approved long-term care insurance plan can opt out. I anticipate legislation to repeal this tax or to help address some of its shortcomings. The original bill passed in 2019 with no Republican support. To learn more about this plan, why it may not be right for you, click here.
In addition, several police reform bills passed last session that have had negative impacts and made our families and communities less safe. These bills will need additional work this legislative session as violent crime continues to increase around the state. To learn more about these bills, click here.
Please feel free to contact me throughout the session to offer your thoughts and opinions on state issues and legislation. Your input matters to me.