Booming economy equals perfect time for tax relief

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

Report from Olympia |  November 28, 2018


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

November has been an eventful month. Although this year’s general election concluded more than three weeks ago, some of the state’s closest races came down to the wire and were still being sorted out as of yesterday. Some of the initiatives that were on this year’s ballot are also in flux, including one measure, Initiative 1639, which is now being challenged in court.

Positive economic news continues to roll in. The fourth of this year’s quarterly revenue forecasts was released last week. According to our state economist’s latest look at anticipated revenue and caseload expenses, the state is now expected to bring in an additional $163 million for the 2017-19 budget cycle and an additional $196 million for the two years after that (2019-21). That means the estimated revenue growth for the two-year period ending next June 30 is now up to $7 billion – a 17.8% rate of growth.


Despite this continuing great news, there are still some in Olympia calling for tax increases from the Legislature when it convenes in January. It seems the Governor and the majority party in the Legislature have a preferred solution to every problem: new taxes.

Now is precisely the time to give tax relief to hardworking Washington taxpayers!

And given what we know about the typical economic cycles, dollars that are not already allocated or given back to the taxpayers should be used to pay off debt obligations and saved for a rainy day.

As your voice in Olympia, I will be fighting to keep the state on a pro-growth, pro-jobs and fiscally responsible path.

Thanks again for the honor of representing you in the Washington State Senate.


Senator Mike Padden


Two slots still available for coffee meetings this Thursday, Nov. 29

Let’s sit down and talk!

coffee time

It's not too late for you to reserve your spot for our next round of coffee meetings! They’ll be tomorrow afternoon at Thomas Hammer Coffee in Spokane Valley (see time and address at left).

Our district coffee one-on-one meetings have been a big hit over the years. They have allowed residents of the 4th Legislative District to come and visit with me over coffee, while sharing their concerns, opinions and ideas about state government. That helps me to better serve the people of our district.

Normally, I would ask you to drop in, but because of limited seating, it would be easier if you phone my legislative office at 921-2460. My legislative assistant, Janet, will schedule a time for us to sit down and visit.

I’m looking forward to connecting with more of you in person. Hope to see you there!

From the District:

Eagle Peak School provides needed emotional and academic support

Eagle Peak

Staff, teachers and administrators at the 2014 opening of Eagle Peak School, located at the former Pratt Elementary site.(6903 East 4th, Spokane Valley, WA)

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of touring the Eagle Peak School, which is part of Spokane District #81. It is located at the former Pratt Elementary School on the 6900 block of East 4th in the Spokane Valley. The mission of Eagle Peak School is to create a safe and supportive learning environment for students in 4th through 12th grade, and provide the academic, behavioral, and social/emotional education and resources they need to be prepared for any post-secondary pursuit. Many of the students who attend Eagle Peak have a particular need for additional behavioral supervision and individualized instruction in a highly structured environment.

In addition to touring the school, I was able to speak with its principal, Ms. Lisa Pacheco. “It is a pleasure to serve as a principal in a community that has a legacy of partnering together to ensure high levels of academic and social support for all students,” she said.  “We are committed to providing [students] with a rigorous and meaningful education that will prepare them for post-secondary pursuits.”

I had a chance to interact with students, teachers, staff and the school resource officer.

You can learn more about Eagle Peak School by watching the video below:

Student Video

Click here to hear students describe how important this school is to them.

No need for tax hikes in new Inslee budget proposal

chart 2

Next month, Governor Inslee will release his proposed two-year budget in advance of the new legislative session that begins Jan. 14. House and Senate leaders will release their budget proposals after that.

What the latest economic revenue forecast (released Nov. 20) makes clear is that there is no need for these proposals to include tax increases. In fact, the continued positive financial news suggests government is collecting more than it needs from hardworking taxpayers, making now the perfect time to focus on providing tax relief.

Here are the big highlights:

  • $7 billion revenue growth this biennium – Revenue for the current biennium is now expected to reach $46.5 billion by the end of June 2019, representing 17.8% growth from a starting point of $39.5 billion.
  • Spending vs. Revenues – State spending is $45 billion, while revenues are $46.5 billion.
  • Largest Dollar Reserve in State History – The state is projected to have the highest reserve level in history at the end of the current biennia with $3.45 billion ($1.9 billion unrestricted savings and another $1.55 billion in the constitutional rainy day fund), representing 7.7% of spending.

You can view the forecast materials for yourself at

Update from WPC on remote testimony

By Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center | Nov. 21, 2018

remote testimony

With both the Senate Majority and Minority leaders for the 2019 Session being from Eastern Washington, we are hopeful the use of remote testimony will increase and become a more standard option for the general public. We are not alone. The Yakima Herald Republic wrote this week:

"On a good traffic day — and, really, is any amount of traffic considered good? — it takes three hours to drive from Yakima to the state Capitol in Olympia. On a bad traffic day, well, you might want to bring some overnight provisions for that 180-mile, one-way expedition.

“That’s why out here in the hinterlands, away from the madness of the Interstate 5 corridor and the political machinations therein, it’s easy to feel left out of the debate on issues that can profoundly affect our lives. It can be a major burden, as in missing a full day of work and burning a tank or two of gas, for a concerned Central Washington citizen to give a minute or two of testimony to legislative committees. It is even more burdensome, as in a six-hour trek, for Spokane residents to get their voices heard.

“Fortunately, the state Senate in the past few years has reached out — way, way out, across the state — to set up high-speed internet connections in remote outposts such as Ellensburg, Pasco, Spokane, Wenatchee and Walla Walla to allow remote testimony . . . The Senate should make remote testimony a regular part of hearings, not an afterthought agreed upon when someone on our side of the Cascades requests it. Perhaps with an eastsider, Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, as the new majority leader, he will encourage more participation from our side of the state."

In some exciting news, it sounds like Sen. Billig is willing to do just this. According to his office: "Sen. Billig plans to discuss it [remote testimony] soon with Senate Administration. It certainly won’t decrease, and hopefully there are ways we can increase it."

…[A Senate report on remote testimony in 2018] was created at the request of Sen. Padden, who said:

“Remote testimony is so important because it allows those without the time, resources or physical ability to travel to still have their voices heard in Olympia on issues important to them. The 2019 Session starts in January, a time when driving across the mountain passes can be impossible or life-threateningly dangerous due to weather. Technology advances means that remote testimony is a fairly simple, commonsense solution to this problem. There is no excuse for it not to be widely available in one of the most wired and technologically advanced states in the country. As a lawmaker who represents a district far away from Olympia, I appreciate having an opportunity to hear directly from the men and women I represent.”

In the News:

Lawmakers poised to alter and pass compromise to deadly force initiative

By Steve Miletich and Joseph O’Sullivan, Seattle Times | Nov. 8, 2018

Initiative 940, which will change the law governing the use of deadly force by law enforcement, would be replaced with a compromise bill that retains key elements approved by voters.

With the passage of the police deadly force initiative, state lawmakers stood poised Wednesday to join supporters and opponents of the measure in moving to enact a compromise bill agreeable to all of them.

…Legislators passed a compromise bill earlier this year, with the support of I-940 proponents and some law-enforcement organizations that had objected to some of the initiative’s wording. But the state Supreme Court ruled that the initiative must be placed on the ballot before it could be altered.

A trio of key lawmakers said they expect the compromise measure, House Bill 3003, to go forward in the 2019 legislative session. Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, the chair of the House Public Safety Committee, said two law-enforcement organizations – the Fraternal Order of Police and Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs – have reaffirmed to him their support for the compromise.

…Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and ranking Republican on the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said he’d still like to see some tweaks to the compromise, if possible. Padden said he remained concerned about the prospect of politically-motivated prosecutions of officers.

Ultimately, Padden still favored the compromise, he said, and “hopefully we will pass something early in the session.”

You can read the full article by clicking here.

In the News:

Spokane-area retailers expect strong holiday season


Huppin’s sales associate Robert Specter loads a sound bar for a big-screen television into customer Steve Wahl’s car, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year and for local retailers, it couldn’t land on a better day.

Last-minute shoppers have a full weekend to hit the malls and other retail outlets, and all day Monday, too.

If they’re ordering online, “it’s one more day for delivery for procrastinators,” said Murray Huppin, president and owner of Huppin’s TV Audio Camera More. “You can buy it Sunday and still get it Monday … unless you waited too long and all the hottest products are gone.”

The National Retail Federation is projecting a better-than-average year for Christmas shopping, with a 4.3 to 4.8 percent increase in sales over last year. Local retailers are similarly optimistic, saying the region’s strong job growth, low unemployment rates and appreciating home prices bode well for consumer confidence.

You can read the full article by clicking here.


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