A frosty reception for ‘partial’ property tax relief

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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  February 27, 2018


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are now less than two weeks away from the end of the 60-day legislative session. The Senate approved its supplemental budget proposal late last week, and the House passed its corresponding budget last night.

The Senate proposal did not receive a single vote from our side of the aisle – mainly because the budget spends too much, saves too little and fails to provide full property-tax relief for hard-working Washingtonians. Instead, we voted for an alternative proposal that you can read more about below.

We will need to work very long hours during the next 10 days if we are going to finish by the March 8 deadline.

Thank you, as always, for the opportunity to serve you in the state Senate. If there is anything I can do for you, please call or send me an e-mail. I deeply value your thoughts and feedback as I represent you in Olympia.


Senator Mike Padden

VIDEO: School safety discussed on TVW’s The Impact

Click here to watch the TVW segment on our school-safety bill.

A better approach to the budget

I voted no on the new supplemental budget approved by the Senate majority on Friday. I was joined by every single senator on my side of the aisle. We all agreed that the majority’s plan spends too much, while not investing enough in key areas. At the same time, it fails to provide the tax relief hard-working Washingtonians deserve.  

I am also concerned that there has not been more attention paid to the issue of paying down state debt. According to the state Treasurer, Washington state has the 6th highest debt in the nation. Yet when we have record surpluses, we never use those extra funds to start addressing the problem. This is true again in the majority's budget.

My Republican colleagues and I could not support this budget. Instead, we voted for an alternative proposal, offered as a striking amendment (meaning it would basically be a complete rewrite). That plan would have provided an additional $141 million for special education through June 30, 2021, meaning almost twice the amount provided in the majority’s plan. It would also give a break to our 170,000 community and technical college students by including a 10 percent tuition cut along with increased state funding for the schools. It would have included tax parity for all Washington manufacturers, so they would receive the same lower rate currently enjoyed by Boeing and other aerospace companies. And unlike the Democrat plan, our alternative budget would have provided nearly $1 billion in property-tax relief starting this year, when it is needed most.

Our budget would have done all this without raising taxes and while maintaining the state’s significant budget reserves. Unfortunately, the majority rejected this amendment.

I will continue to work for this more common-sense approach as negotiations move forward.

    From the District: Spencer Christensen and Sydney Dobbs page in Olympia

    Senate pages Spencer Christensen and Sydney Dobbs with Senator Padden

    Last week I had the pleasure to sponsor not one but two great pages.

    Spencer Christensen and Sydney Dobbs, both sophomores at The Oaks Classical Christian Academy, were two of 33 students who served as Senate pages for the seventh week of the 2018 legislative session.

    The Senate Page Program provides an opportunity for Washington students to spend a week working at the Legislature. Students transport documents between offices, as well as deliver messages and mail. Pages spend time in the Senate chamber and attend page school to learn about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. Students also draft their own bills and engage in a mock session.

    Sydney, 15, is the granddaughter of former state Rep. Glenn Dobbs, who I served with in the Legislature from 1985 to 1986. The daughter of Douglas and Amy Dobbs of Mead, she enjoys playing the piano and singing, as well as zip-lining and skiing.

    Spencer, the 16-year-old son of David and Hester Christensen of Spokane Valley, participates in sports and drama in addition to his musical interests, which include choir.

    They were both a joy to have around, and I hope they learned a lot during their time in Olympia.

    The session is almost over, but if you know students interested in the Senate Page Program, encourage them to visit: http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Administration/PageProgram/ to learn more.

    Bills move through the House


    I recently testified in front of House committees on my measures that are moving through that chamber. Here is an update on those bills.

    • Senate Bill 6410 – the School Safety bill – would require first responders to notify all public and private schools of any incident in the vicinity that would likely result in a lockdown or evacuation. The bill received a hearing on Feb. 19 in the House Committee on Education. An executive session, when the committee has an opportunity to advance the bill, was scheduled for last Thursday, but the chair pulled the bill from consideration. Fortunately, we were able to get the policy included in the budget, so it is still alive for this session. 
    • Senate Bill 6408 – regarding police body-worn cameras – would help provide long-term guidance on the use of police body cams and a definition of “intimate images,” in order to reach a balance between the public’s right to know and an individual’s right to privacy. The bill passed the Senate 47-0. It received a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 15, and was advanced by the committee on Thursday. It is now in the House Rules committee, the final stop before a vote of the full House.
    •  Senate Bill 5987 would restore judges’ authority to set pretrial conditions of release. The measure, supported by both trial judges and prosecutors, passed the Senate 47-0 earlier this month. The House Public Safety Committee heard testimony on the bill on Feb. 15, and advanced the bill in an amended form on Thursday. It is now in the Rules Committee. 
    • Senate Bill 5989 would increase access to small-claims court by doubling the monetary limit over which small-claims courts have jurisdiction, to $10,000. This common-sense update received unanimous support in the Senate, and was approved with amendments by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. It is now awaiting action by the full House.

    In The News: State Senate bill would end time limit on prosecuting child rape

    By Rachel Sun, Spokesman-Review | Feb. 23, 2018

    Victims of child molestation and child rape would not run out of time before their assailants can be prosecuted, under a bill passed by a Senate committee Thursday.

    Advocates of the bill say it would help victims who were abused as children and eventually bring their abusers to justice.

    Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said he supports removing the statute of limitations for sex crimes like child molestation.

    “We had some concerns last year about opening it up for all the offenses,” he said. “But I think it’s pretty compelling, and it’s limited to the most serious of sex offenses.”

    Click here to read the full report.

    In Closing…

    4th District residents speak in instant polls


    Thank you to everyone who participated in our 4th District Telephone Town Hall last week. More than 900 residents of our district participated in the call, asking questions and sharing their views on key issues affecting our community.

    In addition to asking questions, many participants also took part in our non-scientific instant polls. Here are the results:

    Q. 1: Do you want to see a roundabout at Barker and Trent?


    Q. 2: Do you believe all employers should be forced to offer abortion coverage, even if it goes against their strongly held religious or personal beliefs?

    poll 2

    Q. 3: Do you believe all manufacturers should get to pay the lower Business and Occupation Tax rate currently paid by Boeing and others in the Aerospace industry?

    poll 3
    Instant Polls are nonscientific surveys conducted as part of the 4th Legislative District Telephone Town Hall on Wed., Feb. 21, 2018.

    If you missed the telephone town hall, but have a question or concern about state government, it is not too late. I still want to hear from you! Please do not hesitate to contact our office with your questions or comments. Remember, I am your voice in Olympia.


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