The Current | June 12, 2013

The Current

Your citizen Legislature • Washington House Republicans • June 12, 2013

Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Letter from Leadership

The 30-day special session ended yesterday and a second special session began this morning. This is disappointing. Everyone had hoped the Legislature could have reached agreements on an operating budget, capital budget and state government reforms, but our work will continue.

Please know that progress is being made. Olympia is not Washington, D.C., and your citizen Legislature is not Congress. We are disappointed in the state government shutdown rhetoric from the governor and Democrats. This scares people and is not helpful in negotiations. No one wants a shutdown and there are different paths state lawmakers can take to avoid it. We just need to find the best one.

We remain optimistic that a no-new-taxes, education-focused operating budget can be passed in the near future. We also believe meaningful reforms can advance to improve our schools and strengthen our economy. These are our goals and what we will continue to advocate for in the upcoming days.

Please stay tuned and involved in the legislative process. You can e-mail us your thoughts here.   

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

In the news

"I encourage House Democrat budget leaders to stay at the negotiating table with House Republicans and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. We need to continue negotiating in good faith for all the citizens of Washington state."

—Rep. Gary Alexander, House Republican budget leader. Read his statement from June 6 here.  

Sen. Mike Carrell

The life and legacy of Sen. Mike Carrell 

Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood passed away on May 29 after a courageous battle with a blood condition known as myelodysplastic syndrome. Prior to his time in the Washington State Senate, Mike served in the Washington State House of Representatives for nearly a decade. He loved the communities he served and was a remarkable public servant. 

We held a memorial service for Mike on the Senate floor on Monday. It was a beautiful celebration of his life, including words from former Rep. Steve O'Ban, who was chosen to replace Mike in the Washington State Senate. 

We will miss Mike. You can learn more about him here and here.

Skagit River Bridge

I-5 Skagit River Bridge update

Important progress continues on the I-5 Skagit River Bridge. Crews have removed most of the damaged bridge parts, but some debris continues to be embedded in the Skagit River. The National Transportation Safety Board completed its on-site investigation. You can find more information here and here.

Detour routes are in place, with 30-minute delays often occurring in peak commute times. You can find travel times here.

The temporary bridge could be ready as soon as next week. This is great news for neighboring communities. A picture of what the structure will look like is above. 

Gun-control advocates file universal background check initiative

According to the Secretary of State's Office, gun-control advocates have filed an initiative to the Legislature to require universal background checks on gun purchases. To learn more about the issue, click here.

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The tale of tax increases: $1.3 billion to $879 million to $415 million to ...

House Democrats released an ambitious plan to raise taxes by more than $1.3 billion on April 10. They defended this package by criticizing certain tax incentives as “outdated, corporate freebies, reckless, unneeded, and benefitting a number of major industries.” Yet, their plan went after  Main Street.

After criticism and compelling public testimony, House Democrats scaled their plan down to $879 million, with the centerpiece being a  permanent extension of the B&O surtax on service businesses ($534 million) that targeted more than 100,000 employers. They passed controversial House Bill 2038 on the narrowest margin on April 24.

After pressure from House Republicans, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus and concerned individuals and groups from across the state, House Democrats finally abandoned their desire to permanently extend the B&O surtax on June 5.

House Democrats then pivoted and introduced a new $415 million tax-increase package found in House Bills 2034, 2036 and 2064. Some of their targets include: bottled water, extracted fuel, travel agents and tour operators, warehousers and resellers of prescription drugs, high tech research and development, the state estate tax, and the non-resident sales and use tax exemption. You can learn more here.

Time will tell what the House Democrats' final tax-increase demand will be. However, it is clear they will not get the $1.3 billion they had hoped for originally. This is a win for struggling small businesses and families that cannot afford to send more money to Olympia.

Honoring the exemplary service of Sean M. O'Connell Jr.

The Washington State House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring the life and service of Washington State Patrol Trooper Sean M. O’Connell Jr. on Monday. Sean passed away from injuries he received when a truck collided with his motorcycle while he was directing traffic from the collapsed I-5 Skagit River Bridge on May 31. 

We are grateful for Sean’s service and dedication to our state. His wife, son and daughter are in our thoughts and prayers.