Hold on to your wallet!

Legislative update from Olympia

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bill signing

My first law was signed by Governor Inslee on Monday. Senate Bill 5763 will allow antique truck collectors to qualify as a truck collector and be exempt from obtaining a commercial driver’s license if the truck is more than 30 years old and is used only occasionally to and from truck conventions, auto shows, parades and vehicle club meetings.

Dear Neighbor,


The Legislature adjourned just before the stroke of midnight on Sunday. I am very glad we got done in 105 days. Unfortunately, I am not pleased with many of the results. In the late hours of the closing days of the 2019 legislative session, the majority party passed several taxes that will soon affect many Washingtonians.

Raising the school-levy lid. Senate Bill 5313 will enable a 67 percent hike in local property-tax rate, starting in 2020 by essentially undoing the local levy limit for school districts. Just one year after the Legislature fulfilled its obligation to address K-12 education funding as called for by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, school districts and the state’s education establishment are claiming that Washington’s school-funding system is broken and insufficient. Despite this historic increase in K-12 education funding, many school districts put themselves in a budgetary bind when they bargained away the additional funding provided by the McCleary fix on larger teacher contracts last summer. Now districts see lifting the local-levy cap as a way to bring in more revenue to cover those pay raises.  No one argues that teacher don’t deserve reasonable compensation -- but when the average salaries are over $79,000 per year, these self-inflicted layoffs were perfectly foreseeable.

Operating budget.  House Bill 1109 will spend over $52 billion in the next two years, including $800 million in new taxes. This budget was passed by the Legislature along party lines. Although it boosts spending on K-12, higher education and mental health, I believe we could have done this without imposing dramatic tax increases on the citizens of our state.  See the graphic below for more details on the 2019 session tax increases.

I am very disappointed to see taxes raised across the board for many Washington residents, especially since the state received unprecedented revenue and job growth. Now is not the time to raise taxes.




2019 Session Tax Increases


Capital budget highlights

On a positive note, the Legislature passed a bipartisan state capital budget that includes many projects in our region. Here are some of the 39th District local and community projects funded in the two-year state capital budget:

Behavioral Health Capacity Grants

  • Sedro-Woolley North Sound Evaluation and Treatment Center

$6.6 million

Early Learning Facilities

  • City of Monroe, Boys & Girls Club ECEAP Facility

$1 million

Youth Recreational Facilities Grant Program

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County


Local and Community Projects

  • Arlington B&G Club Parking Safety (Arlington)


  • Evergreen Speedway Capital Improvement (Monroe)


  • Granite Falls Police Department Renovation Project (Granite Falls)


  • Index Water System Design (Index)


  • Monroe Boys and Girls Club ADA Improvements (Monroe)


  • Sewage Lagoon Decommissioning (Concrete)


  • Snohomish Fire District #26 Communications Project (Gold Bar)


  • SR 530 "Oso" Slide Memorial (Arlington)


  • Sultan Water Treatment Plant Design (Sultan)


Library Capital Improvement Program

  • Sedro-Woolley Library

$1 million

May 3, 2019

Death penalty

I was very glad to see that the Legislature did not pass a moratorium on the death penalty this legislative session. I plan to reintroduce The Officer Jayme Biendl Bill, legislation I sponsored this year that would require a death penalty review board be convened to review and make recommendations in cases where an incarcerated individual was accused of aggravated murder while in the custody of the Department of Corrections.  Unfortunately, this bill did not even receive a public hearing during the session.

Fun fact…

Each legislative update will highlight a fun fact about your 39th Legislative District State Senator!

Senator Keith Wagoner….

  • As a young teenager, lived with his family in two-room cabin without indoor plumbing or electricity.


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Contact information:

Email: Keith.Wagoner@leg.wa.gov

Phone: (360) 786-7676