The Current | March 1, 2013

The Current

Your citizen Legislature • Washington House Republicans • March 1, 2013 

Pete Carroll

Letter from Leadership

It has been a quiet Friday on the House floor after a busy week in the Legislature. Today is fiscal cutoff, meaning bills have to pass out of fiscal committees (Appropriations, Finance, Capital Budget and Transportation) or they are considered "dead" until the next legislative session. 

On Wednesday, Pete Carroll of the Seahawks came to Olympia to discuss "A Better Seattle." It's a partnership with the YMCA of Greater Seattle and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. We welcomed Coach Carroll to our caucus (pictured above) and appreciate what he is doing to reduce gang and youth violence.

The big news this week was the state Supreme Court's opinion on Thursday to strike down voter-approved Initiative 1053 that requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. This is bad news for taxpayers. We have provided you more information to the right.

We often get asked, "What are the good and bad bills this legislative session?" We've made this easy for you by compiling this list. It will be updated early next week. 

Have a safe and restful weekend.

Rep. Richard DeBolt  
20th District
House Republican Leader


"Women in Politics: Challenges and Successes" forum

Rep. Maureen Walsh (left) participated in a "Women in Politics: Challenges and Successes" forum on Feb. 22. The event was hosted by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.

Other panelists included former Sen. Lisa Brown (center), political scientist Richard Cox (right) and political consultant Cathy Allen. The moderator was Rachel La Corte from the Associated Press.

To read about the event, click here. To watch it, click here.

In the news

The Current

Washington House Republicans online

"Without this taxpayer protection in place, those in Olympia who believe in more government feel emboldened. There is the temptation to feel vindicated by the court’s will while ignoring the people’s."

- Rep. Gary Alexander, ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee 
March 1, 2013

Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Supporting agriculture

Rep. Dan Kristiansen (left) was named 2012 Legislator of the Year by the Washington Farm Bureau and its President Mike LaPlant (right) last month. To learn more, click here

Transportation: Fix it before you fund it

House Democrats want to raise the state gas tax by 10 cents per gallon to pay for transportation projects. You can find their plan here

We will be unveiling our economic and transportation reform package soon. These are reforms we want before a discussion on raising the state gas tax moves forward. Please stay tuned.

Here are some facts on transportation:

  • 2011-13 transportation budget: $10 billion.
  • Sources of funding: fuel tax; bonds; federal funds; licenses/permits/ fees; ferry fares; toll revenue; miscellaneous; vehicle sales tax; rental car tax; local funds; and a $.25 ferry capital surcharge.
  • Federal gas tax: 
    18.4 cents/gallon.
  • State gas tax: 
    37.5 cents/gallon.
  • Revenue from the state gas tax is protected under the 18th Amendment to be used for "highway purposes."

The week ahead

State Supreme Court throws out initiative requiring supermajority vote of the Legislature to raise taxes

In a 6-3 opinion, our state Supreme Court struck down Initiative 1053 that requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise taxes. I-1053 passed with 63.75 percent in 2010. A similar measure, Initiative 1185, passed with 63.91 percent in 2012 -- including 44 out of 49 legislative districts.

Simply put: it will now be easier to raise taxes on individuals, families and employers.  

We are disappointed in this outcome. The lawsuit was brought forward by the League of Education Voters, Washington Education Association and 11 House Democrats. 

Senate Minority Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, said the two-thirds requirement allows for a "tyranny of the minority." The taxpayer-protection initiative has passed five times by a majority of voters since 1993. 

Rep. Gary Alexander in a statement Thursday said: "In the end, today’s ruling shows how important it is to place the taxpayer protections into the state constitution. We have legislation ready to be enacted today -- right now. I urge the majority party in the House to join with House Republicans to adopt a new constitutional amendment so that we can, once and for all, put this issue to rest and get on with responsible governing."

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler echoed a similar sentiment: "Washington voters have repeatedly said that they want to see this basic taxpayer protection kept in place and they want it to be harder -- not easier -- for their taxes to be raised. The only option that now remains for them is to amend the state constitution and put this issue to bed once and for all." Read more here.

Our view on the operating budget remains the same: we can balance the budget by reforming, resizing and reducing state government --without raising taxes.

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