State budgets

2021 legislative session • March 26, 2021

Washington State House Republicans

Dear Friend:

With a month left in the legislative session, attention has turned to state budgets. House Democrats released their operating, transportation and capital budgets this week and our caucus received briefings on each one. The tentative plan is to vote on them late next week. 

As in recent years, our ranking members on the House Transportation and Capital Budget committees -- Rep. Andrew Barkis and Rep. Mike Steele -- were influential in shaping their respective budget proposals. As a result, I think you will see some bipartisan support for both. 

House Democrats' operating budget 

The operating budget is another story. While Rep. Drew Stokesbary and the House Republican operating budget framework likely impacted decisions of majority party budget writers, the proposal released by House Democrats a few hours ago is partisan in nature. 

Our members on the House Appropriations Committee are studying House Bill 1094 closely. It will receive a public hearing tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. If you are interested in weighing in on this legislation, this video explains how to do so.

Both the House and Senate Democrat operating budgets rely on an income tax on capital gains and spend far beyond what the governor proposed in December. And when their budget writers go behind closed doors for final negotiations, fiscal responsibility seems like an unlikely outcome.   

We will have more to share on all three budgets, including House Republican responses, in the upcoming days. In the meantime, I encourage you to follow our legislative news aggregator, The Ledger, for news, views, and messaging on these proposals and others. 

Governor allows schools to reduce social distancing to three feet 

The governor announced yesterday that K-12 schools could reduce their distance between students in classrooms from six to three feet. Senate Republican Leader John Braun and I asked the governor to endorse this guidance last Thursday, a day before the CDC updated its guidance. We appreciate the governor's response and believe it removes the last barrier for students and teachers returning to the classroom.    

Addressing the Blake decision 

The Washington Supreme Court's Blake decision struck down our state's felony drug possession law. The ruling surprised everyone and created problems across our criminal justice system and communities. State lawmakers are now facing an unexpected, complex situation that must be addressed this legislative session. 

It is still not clear what Democrats plan to do, if anything. House Republicans are again taking the lead and putting real solutions on the table. We unveiled comprehensive legislation (House Bills 1558-1562) at a news conference on Tuesday. Rep. Gina Mosbrucker explains these bills in this video. You can learn more about this issue and our solutions in this Crosscut story.  

Meet the House Republican freshmen 

We have a dynamic group of seven new members in our caucus. They have adapted and thrived in challenging circumstances. It has been amazing to watch. To learn more about our freshmen, please visit this web page


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