Democrats finally reach budget agreement

2019 legislative session • April 26, 2019 

The Current -- 2017 legislative session

Dear Friend:  

The Democrats finally reached an agreement on their $52.4 billion operating budget. Their plan represents an $8 billion increase in state spending -- an 18% increase over current levels. To fund this growth in state government, Democrats turned to several new tax increases.    

The process for the operating budget and tax-increase proposals has not been transparent. In fact, the public won't get details of the budget until tomorrow -- day 104 of the 105-day legislative session. This is unfortunate. I discussed this in my weekly video update.

Democrats to raise taxes despite budget surplus

In the end, Democrats just couldn't resist spending well beyond record tax collections in the best of economic times. They decided to raise taxes when our state has a budget surplus. This is the storyline and what they will be expected to explain all interim. I don't envy that task. 

One big win for Republicans, and more importantly taxpayers, is the capital gains income tax may be stopped. There is no question that united Republican opposition, and the voices of many Washingtonians, led to this outcome. But there could be an attempt to revive it this weekend. And if it doesn't pass this year, it will be back next year. We also stopped some other tax-increase bills that we shared back on March 22.    

In next week's email update, we will provide a full account of the three state budgets, tax proposals and legislative session -- including the hits and misses, and what imprints the Republicans made. Right now, because of the extreme rush and lack of information provided to the public and minority party, we simply don't have all of the details and our focus is on the remaining debates.

House Democrats to choose a new Speaker on July 31

The House Democrats announced they will select a replacement for Speaker of the House Frank Chopp on July 31. That person will become a speaker-designate, but won't officially become Speaker until a House-wide election takes place at the beginning of the next legislative session in January. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.     

Thank you

In closing, I just want to thank you for being interested and involved in the legislative process. We all lead busy lives and it's hard to find time to pay attention to government. And, candidly, politicians sometimes give people reason to turn away.

Your involvement remains critical. In many cases, it has made a difference in stopping bad legislation. As I highlighted in this recent Nisqually Valley News piece, I feel House Republicans have had a bigger impact this year with 41 members than last year with 48 members. We couldn't have done it without you. And we have more work to do over the next two days.   

Thank you, 

Rep. J.T. Wilcox
House Republican Leader
(360) 786-7912

Sharon Hayward

Remembering Sharon Hayward

We lost a great friend this week. Sharon Hayward, who served in both partisan and non-partisan roles in the House, lost her battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family -- including her husband Allen, who worked for our caucus for several years. 

More House Republican bills signed into law

Amid tribal members, Gov. Inslee signs Rep. Mosbrucker’s missing and murdered indigenous people bill

Governor signs Mosbrucker bill to help domestic violence victims recognize traumatic brain injury

Governor signs Van Werven legislation to extend B&O tax return filing dates

Governor signs Caldier bill requiring patient notification of health providers sanctioned for sexual misconduct

Bill to limit hospital notification time on rape kits sent to governor; penalties removed to Caldier’s disappointment

Governor signs Caldier bill to allow remote concealed pistol license renewal for deployed military 

Governor signs Ybarra’s bill to update teacher preparatory program entry requirements

Governor signs Dufault bill eliminating fees on Purple Heart license plates

Dufault Astria Toppenish Hospital bill receives governor’s signature

Governor signs Dent legislation requiring state to look at traumatic brain injury screenings of new foster care children

Governor signs Jenkin’s motorcycle liability bill

Governor signs Rep. Ed Orcutt’s bill to address problems at Greenwood Cemetery into law 

Budget and taxes videos

We created and shared several videos this legislative session. Many of them can be found on our YouTube page. Please consider sharing our budget and taxes videos below:

House Republicans speak out against $4.5 billion in new tax increases approved by Democrats | April 23

Rep. Drew Stokesbary pushes back on Democrats’ $4.5 billion in tax increases | April 19

Rep. Brandon Vick: Capital gains income tax is unconstitutional, unreliable and unnecessary | April 9

House Republicans speak against the House Democrats’ 2019-21 operating budget proposal | April 2

Rep. Drew Stokesbary discusses the state’s budget situation | March 22

A contrast in approaches for clean energy

Everyone cares about the environment, including clean air and clean water. This legislative session revealed differences in approaches to this shared priority, with Democrats pushing forward many elements of the governor's controversial and expensive climate agenda. The centerpiece of this agenda, Senate Bill 5116, the so-called Clean Energy Bill, will:

  • require utilities to remove coal from their electricity production by December 31, 2025;
  • require all retail sales of electricity be greenhouse gas neutral by January 1, 2030;
  • create statewide policy that supply of retail electricity be 100% clean by January 1, 2045; and
  • create penalties for noncompliance for Coal Elimination or Greenhouse Gas Neutral Standard.

Unfortunately, the legislation passed and will be signed into law. In the House floor debate, we explained how this approach will increase energy costs for individuals, families and employers in our state, and how it fails to address proper forest management and wildfires. It will also do nothing to reduce global carbon emissions.

A better way: Carbon Free Washington Act

There's a better way -- one that won't fall on the shoulders of taxpayers. We offered a striking amendment, an alternative solution for clean energy, but House Democrats rejected it. Learn more about our Carbon Free Washington Act here.  

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