1/22/21 | Olympia | The Current ~~
THE BOTTOM LINE:
As promised, House Republicans say they are putting real solutions on the table. The urgent needs of Washingtonians as a result of prolonged shutdown orders necessitate immediate actions from the Legislature.
After the ceremonies and speeches of last week, state representatives settled into week two of the legislative session with a full schedule of remote committee hearings and House floor action. This included honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through House Resolution 4601 on Monday. Rep. Skyler Rude provided remarks for our caucus on this day. You can watch his speech here.
REAL Recovery for Washington Act
As promised, House Republicans are putting real solutions on the table. The urgent needs of Washingtonians as a result of prolonged shutdown orders necessitate immediate actions from the Legislature.
On Tuesday, Rep. Drew Stokesbary released the REAL Recovery for Washington Act. It is a comprehensive, $4 billion relief package that does not rely on new tax increases or future spending obligations in years to come. Rather, it uses our state’s rainy-day fund and new federal dollars to help families, students, schools, and small businesses recover. I talked about this proposal in my video update earlier today.
Other real solutions
Drew unveiled his legislation at our Republican media availability. At this event, our new education lead — Rep. Alex Ybarra — also talked about the importance of getting teachers and school personnel vaccinated and kids back in the classroom. This letter that he sent to the governor on revising vaccination guidance ended up being very impactful.
Rep. Drew MacEwen also dropped a House companion to Senate Bill 5114 this week. The legislation would move all regions to Phase II of the governor’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan. The Senate bill received strong public support in a recent committee hearing.
Rep. Matt Boehnke, our new ranking member on the House Community and Economic Development Committee, has also introduced House Bill 1170. The measure would help rebuild our state’s manufacturing sector.
These are just a few of the real solutions proposed by House Republicans to rebuild the economy and help people recover. We will share more ideas later.
Washington House Democrats propose massive gas and carbon tax
This is not a partisan assessment above; it is an actual headline in response to the House Democrats’ $26 billion transportation package unveiled on Tuesday. Here are some other headlines and stories about the package:
- Proposal could make Washington state’s gas tax highest in US (KING TV)
- Gas taxes and fees could reach $1 per gallon under new Washington state transportation proposal (The Seattle Times)
- Democratic lawmakers propose massive gas tax increase to fund transportation (MyNorthwest)
- Plan to raise gas taxes (KIRO TV)
I can’t think of a worse set of headlines for a major legislative proposal. I think even the media was surprised by the size and scope of the proposal, including what it would do to the cost of gasoline. This Washington Policy Center analysis takes a closer look at this issue.
While the Legislature has passed major transportation packages in the past, nothing as costly as this proposal. And previous packages have included bipartisan negotiations, deliberations, compromises, and reforms. We will see how this year plays out.
I agree with my seatmate and our transportation lead, Rep. Andrew Barkis, when he said the following in a statement: “We should be working together to find common ground, rather than having this massive tax increase dropped on us. This type of strategy will make the budget-writing process more difficult this year. The people of Washington state deserve better.” Andrew has been all over the airwaves the last few days.
Inside Olympia with Austin Jenkins
Last week, I joined TVW’s Austin Jenkins on Inside Olympia for a wide-ranging conversation about the state’s coronavirus response, House Republican priorities, and more. I appreciate this format because it allows me to have an in-depth conversation about issues. And Austin is a pro.
Washington State Redistricting Commission appointments
As you may have heard, I appointed Paul Graves as commissioner to the Washington State Redistricting Commission last Friday. There are four appointed commissioners, chosen by the four legislative caucuses. The Senate Republicans chose Joe Fain. Both Paul and Joe are former state lawmakers. For more information:
- Former lawmakers Joe Fain, Paul Graves tapped by legislative GOP leaders as members of Redistricting Commission | The Daily Chronicle
- House, Senate leaders announce their appointees for Redistricting Commission (Democrats’ choices)