The Current | May 31, 2013

The Current

Your citizen Legislature • Washington House Republicans • May 31, 2013

Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Letter from Leadership

It has been a sad week in the Legislature. Sen. Mike Carrell passed away on Wednesday after battling myelodysplastic syndrome. Mike was part of our House Republican family, having served in our chamber for nearly a decade, and many of us worked closely with him over the years. He was an amazing public servant and had a passion for the communities he represented. We are heartbroken over his passing and will miss him.

Today is the 19th day of the 30-day special session.  Unfortunately, there are still no final agreements on the operating and capital budgets.
State representatives were in Olympia yesterday to vote on one piece of legislation -- House Bill 2064. The measure would make changes to the state's estate tax for married couples and is designed to avoid having to refund millions of dollars to estates following a state Supreme Court ruling. No House Republican voted for the bill. You can find an article on it here, and watch the House floor debate here (at 4:42 mark).

This special session still comes down to the fundamental question: Should taxes be raised by around $1 billion, or should the state live within its means and balance the operating budget with existing revenue? You know where we stand on this issue. We hope you will join us.

In your service,
Rep. Dan Kristiansen
39th District
House Republican Leader

Please tell your friends that they can sign up for The Current here.

E-mail us at:

In the news

"House Democrats make it sound like they are going after the big corporations on Wall Street, but in reality they are going after the little guy on Main Street." 

—Rep. Joel Kretz on the House Democrats' plan to permanently extend the business and occupation (B&O) surtax on service businesses. You can find our news release here.  

The list

When House Democrats passed their controversial  tax-increase legislation on a narrow vote April 24, it contained a section that would permanently extend the B&O surtax on service businesses. They simply described this group as “doctors, lawyers, architects and others.” It turns out that “others” represents a very large category of Main Street individuals and employers.   

When we requested a complete list of the service businesses that would be impacted by House Bill 2038, it was not available. Working with the state Department of Revenue, we were able to compile this list. We were surprised by what we found. 

Here is a small sample of the individuals and employers targeted: assisted living facilities, auto dealers, builders, child day care facilities, child group foster homes, civic organizations, death services, dentists, educational support services, employment services, family services,  fine arts schools, grantmaking and giving services, home health care services, housing programs, legal services, medical labs, nannies, newspaper publishers, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, performing arts companies, personal care services, radio and television broadcasting, real estate activities, trade schools, vocational rehabilitation services, and independent artists, writers and performers. There are tens of thousands of employers that would be impacted.

House Democrats have defended their plan by describing certain tax incentives as “outdated, corporate freebies, reckless, unneeded, outmoded, and benefitting a number of major industries.” This leaves the impression they are targeting Wall Street, but they are actually going after Main Street.

Poll shows public does not support tax increases

A question in a recent Moore Information poll of Washingtonians asked, “What do you think is the most important thing that should be done to balance the state budget: reduce spending even if some crucial programs are cut, or increase taxes, even if it is hard for middle-class families?”

The results reveal that a strong majority of people in our state agree with House Republicans and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus on the issue of raising taxes.  Learn more here.

I-5 bridge collapse over Skagit River 

The I-5 bridge collapse over the Skagit River was a surprise to all of us. We are so thankful that lives were spared in this accident.

We know that the bridge only collapsed because the superstructure was struck by an oversize load. We have been assured by WSDOT Secretary Lynn Peterson that if a bridge was in danger of collapse, it would be taken out of service. Please be confident that our bridges are safe.

While key details on the cause have emerged, it is important we allow the experts time to determine exactly what happened. From there, we can then find out if there are solutions that would prevent this situation from happening in the future.

Our state needs a temporary solution that works for not only the flow of traffic, but for local homeowners, schools and businesses. Eventually, we will need a long-term solution to serve our region for years to come. These are important decisions and we encourage you to weigh in.

This problem has brought out the best in our communities. The response has been great. Moving forward, this problem must also bring out the best in our local, state and federal governments. To date, these entities have worked well together and we hope this continues.

Some people have suggested this accident provides momentum for a new transportation revenue package. We feel it changes the nature of that debate. For months, the focus has been on raising the state gas tax by 10 to 13 cents per gallon to pay primarily for new and megaprojects. Our position has been: Fix it before you fund it. The Legislature should take a close look at maintaining existing state infrastructure -- including this list of structurally-deficient bridges. 

More information on I-5 Skagit River Bridge detour routes can be found here.

Rep. Bruce Chandler

National Teacher and Principal of the Year visit the Capitol 

The National Teacher of the Year and National Principal of the Year, both from our state, visited the Capitol on Thursday. Pictured above is Jeff Charbonneau (left), a science teacher at Zillah High School, and Trevor Greene (right), a principal at Toppenish High School, with their state representative -- Bruce Chandler (center).

The other Washington