House Democrats refuse to vote on their $8 billion tax package

2017 legislative session • April 7, 2017 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Letter from Leadership 

The Current 2017-18

Dear Friend:  

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the Capitol, which can only mean one thing: We are nearing the end of the legislative session. However, after today's wind storm, it looks like snow has fallen around the campus. 

House Democrats refuse to vote on their tax package

House Democrats passed the centerpiece of their $8 billion tax package out of committee on Tuesday. However, they will not bring the bill to the House floor for a full vote.

This means House Democrats passed a $51.2 billion spending plan (2019-21) that does not balance. My quote in this article sums up my feelings on this: “If you can’t prove you have the resources to pay for your budget, it’s a pretend budget.”

Taking tough votes

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, in contrast, passed a fully funded operating budget. Is it perfect? No. In fact, their members had to take tough votes and likely have concerns with parts of the proposal. 

House Democrats aren't willing to take the tough vote and may not even have the 50 votes necessary to pass their tax package. This uncertainty complicates final budget negotiations.   
Transportation budget pulled from House floor

The House was supposed to vote on the transportation budget on Wednesday, but the bill was pulled minutes before floor action. We drafted 29 amendments to this budget, including ones that focus on Sound Transit 3, I-405 toll lanes, the Seattle Tunnel Project, and other issues. We will be ready for this debate next week.

Lowering car-tab fees, reforming Sound Transit

People are very upset about their new Sound Transit 3 tax burdens. We have sponsored several bills that would address these concerns. The Senate also passed legislation yesterday that would lower car-tab fees that have spiked as a result of Sound Transit 3. It does not appear, at least at this point, House Democrats have any intentions of passing the Senate's measure or any other meaningful legislation.

With this in mind, we tried to bring Sound Transit 3 reform bills to the House floor through a procedural motion on Wednesday. House Democrats would not allow these measures to be voted on -- including solutions to lower car-tab fees and allow cities and counties to opt out of Sound Transit 3 taxes. We will keep pushing for these bills. 

The Sound Transit 3 issue is intensifying and will only get worse when people start feeling the new property- and sales-tax increases. Reps. Mark Harmsworth and Morgan Irwin have taken the lead on this issue and appeared in several news stories. We'll see how it plays out these last two weeks.  

Recognizing the Navy and National Guard

Yesterday we honored the Navy on the House floor, and today the National Guard. With all of the veterans and military family members in our caucus, these are always special days. These moments of appreciation took on even greater meaning given what transpired recently in Syria. God bless the men and women of our armed forces -- here and abroad.

In your service,

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


Watch our weekly meetings with reporters 

Each week during the legislative session, we join with the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus to meet with reporters and answer their questions. These news conferences allow us to share our priorities, push our messages out and learn what's important to the media. 

The topics for this week's event included the operating budget, capital budget, taking tough votes, why a new capital gains income tax is a bad idea, and why the House Democrats likely won't vote on their tax package. 

You can watch all of our news conferences from this year by visiting our website

Holding Seattle responsible for Alaskan Way Viaduct project cost overruns 

Bertha finally completed its underground journey and broke through this week. While this is good news, we can't forget the Alaskan Way Viaduct project is behind schedule and over budget. This article highlights the fact this project is far from over and the legal battle is just beginning.  

Senate Bill 5768, sponsored by then-Sen. Ed Murray and passed in 2009, states: "Any costs in excess of two billion eight hundred million dollars shall be borne by property owners in the Seattle area who benefit from replacement of the existing viaduct with the deep bore tunnel."

Rep. Ed Orcutt, our lead on the House Transportation Committee, is sponsoring a bill that would ensure Seattle is held financially responsible for the cost overruns of the Alaskan Way Viaduct project. You can learn more in his news release

Clock ticking on Hirst fix

We've talked at great length about the controversial Hirst decision and made it our priority to fix this problem that threatens local governments, communities, taxpayers, land developers, and current and future land owners. This includes introducing several pieces of legislation to address this issue and help with rural economic development.

The Senate, with bipartisan support, sent us Senate Bill 5239 on February 28. The measure would take our state back to the point prior to the Hirst decision and put the onus back on the Department of Ecology to determine impairment. It has been stuck in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee since March 2. Meanwhile, just 16 days remain in the legislative session.

Reps. John Koster and Jacquelin Maycumber, concerned that Democrats won't support a meaningful solution this year, have proposed legislation that would provide expedited property tax relief to landowners affected by the Hirst decision. You can learn more about House Bill 2195 in this news release

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