Rural economic development

2017 legislative session • March 3, 2017 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Letter from Leadership 

The Current 2017-18

Dear Friend:  

We are officially past the halfway point of the 105-day legislative session. The Legislature shifted gears on Monday, with increased floor action in both chambers. State representatives were on the House floor every day this week, including working into the evenings. However, we will not be voting on bills this weekend. Action will resume on Monday as we work toward house of origin cutoff on March 8.

Dead of Alive?

Several interesting and meaningful pieces of legislation have passed the state House since the beginning of session. To date, a total of 260 bills have advanced out of the chamber. You can find our updated Dead or Alive list here.

Sound Transit 3 problems, solutions

Last November, King, Pierce and Snohomish counties collectively passed Sound Transit 3 (ST3). Pierce County voters rejected the measure, but it passed with enough support in King (57.9 percent) and Snohomish (51 percent) counties to get it across the finish line. The measure increased the sales tax, property tax and car tabs in these counties to pay for new light rail, bus and park-and-ride projects.

The car-tab increase is $110 per $10,000 vehicle value. To make matters worse, Sound Transit is using an inflated formula to calculate how much a car is worth. In general, the newer the vehicle the more the formula inflates the value. Many residents are now receiving renewal notices and realizing their fees are increasing drastically.

This formula is unfair and needs to be fixed. House Bill 2132, sponsored by Rep. Mark Harmsworth, would tie the formula to the Kelley Blue Book value. This would bring more fairness to the equation. The Senate companion legislation is Senate Bill 5851.  

Aside from sticker shock, it has also been brought to our attention there are nearly 300 cases in which property owners are being forced to pay higher taxes - even though only part of their property sits within the Sound Transit boundary lines. This, too, is not fair.

Rep. Mark Harmsworth has also sponsored legislation to address this problem. House Bill 1958 would prohibit regional transit authority property taxes on less than a whole parcel.

It is clear Sound Transit needs to be held accountable. Senate Bill 5001, which passed off the Senate floor 29-20 on Wednesday, would change the board of a Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit) from appointed to elected. It would also reduce the number of directly elected board members from 19 to 11. This change would make this organization directly accountable to the people -- and that's a good thing. This story from The News Tribune captured the recent debate. 

There is also a bill that would allow local governments to opt out of paying all three taxes associated with ST3, and another one that would allow counties and cities to exempt their residents from the property tax. We will see how this legislation plays out over the last half of the legislative session. 

Staying connected during the homestretch

There are many convenient ways for you to stay connected to your citizen Legislature. If your family or friends want to sign up for this e-mail update, they can do so here. You can also sign up for the Capitol Buzz and individual member e-mail updates on this page. The websites of TVW and the Legislature are also great resources.

We are here to listen and serve you. Please don't ever hesitate to contact us.  

In your service,

Rep. Dan Kristiansen
House Republican Leader
39th District
(360) 786-7967

Solutions for rural economic development

The Seattle area has bounced back and experienced amazing economic growth and prosperity since the Great Recession. However, beyond the shadow of the Space Needle, other areas of our state continue to struggle from an uneven economic recovery. Rural and coastal communities, in particular, are suffering the most.

This map from the state's Employment Security Department (ESD) illustrates our unemployment problem. As you will see, 14 counties had an unemployment rate of 8.1 percent or more in December, including four coastal counties. ESD's monthly employment report allows you to take a closer look at the related employment data and facts.

Several things have contributed to this problem, including federal, state and judicial overreach. The restrictions from the state's Growth Management Act (GMA) have created challenges for many counties over the years. The Hirst decision, which has far-reaching effects on rural communities, land developers and land owners, is the most recent example of judicial overreach. All of these challenges have had an adverse, cumulative effect and resulted in fewer economic opportunities and more unemployment. We represent many of these impacted communities. 

One of our legislative priorities is to empower families and strengthen communities. Below are some of the bills we are supporting that would help rural economic development. The hyperlinks will reveal where they are at in the legislative process:

  • House Bill 1017 would change the one-size-fits-all building restrictions created by the GMA and allow school districts to build new schools where students live.
  • House Bill 1051 would create public infrastructure grants for projects in rural counties.
  • House Bill 1101 would modify the population and population growth criteria used to determine the counties and cities that are required to plan fully under the GMA.
  • House Bill 1123 would create the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority and use existing revenue to implement a statewide tourism-marketing plan.
  • House Bill 1403 would encourage job creation and retention in rural economies through the transparent and accountable provision of targeted tax relief for silicon smelters.
  • House Bill 1422 would create the Washington Rural Jobs Act and a program to develop rural growth funds.
  • House Bill 1504 would authorize counties and cities planning under the GMA to adopt development regulations to permit resource lands adjacent to short line railroads to be developed for freight rail dependent purposes, subject to certain conditions.
  • House Bill 1525 would create the Economic Revitalization Act and provide substance to economic development elements of the GMA.
  • House Bill 2133 would encourage the economic vitality of rural food and forest product businesses.  
  • Several pieces of legislation to address the problems created by the Hirst decision (House Bills 1348, 1349, 1459, 1382, 1748 and 1503). Note: Senate Bill 5239, sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, passed out of the Senate 28-21 on Tuesday. The measure would address the Hirst decision. You can learn more about it here.
Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber

Jacquelin Maycumber moves from LA to state representative

Few people have had a more seamless transition to state representative than Jacquelin Maycumber. She replaced Shelly Short, who was appointed to the state Senate when Brian Dansel resigned his 7th District seat earlier this year. Jacquelin was Shelly's legislative assistant and chosen by county commissioners from five counties to replace her as state representative. Her first day in office was February 2. 

Jacquelin has deep roots in the 7th District. She is a fourth-generation landowner in Northeast Washington. Jacquelin is a former law enforcement officer and elected school board member. She lives in Republic with her husband, Marty, and three children.

Jacquelin has already been entrusted with a committee leadership role, being named assistant ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee. She also sits on the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. Learn more about Jacquelin by visiting her new website.

Listen to our podcasts

Our members produce Capitol Conversation podcasts every week on various issues. These concise audio pieces are a great way for you learn more about issues being debated here in the Legislature without having to spend a lot of time. 

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