Town hall meeting: Whatcom County residents express concerns about Legislature’s direction

The following newsletter was sent to Sen. Doug Ericksen’s subscribers March 19. To subscribe to Sen. Ericksen’s newsletters, click here.

With Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden, at Nooksack Valley Middle School Saturday.

  • Gun-control legislation, vaccinations, taxes are hot topics at forum
  • One-party control in Olympia has skewed Legislature to the left
  • Taxpayer Protection Package offers better way

Thanks to all who turned out for our town hall meeting Saturday! Rep. Luanne Van Werven and I appeared at Nooksack Valley Middle School Saturday for a spirited discussion of the challenges we face in the Legislature. We’re about halfway done with our legislative session, but we are expecting some bruising battles before we adjourn for the year.

We got an earful about gun-control legislation and proposals to eliminate choice about school vaccinations. Some people appeared confused that the Legislature is considering a rash of measures to drive up fuel prices – a carbon tax, cap-and-trade and low carbon fuel standards. This effort comes just a few months after Washington voters rejected a carbon tax (Initiative 1631) for the second time in a row. “I thought we had voted down the carbon tax,” asked a woman from Bellingham. “What happened?”

What happened is that the Legislature has fallen under one-party control. The Seattle-dominated urban majority that took power last year has shown no restraint in proposals to increase taxes and expand government intrusion in our daily lives. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way.

Our economy right now remains strong, thanks to five years of restraint under Republican leadership of the Senate. We can continue our success if we budget responsibly and put the needs of working families first. I have sponsored legislation to make this a reality – a Taxpayer Protection Package that would lighten the burden and let our economy roar.

This session gives us a choice – between prosperity and empty virtue signaling that will impose hardship on the people of Washington. I hope you will join with me in our effort to keep Washington strong.

 

What’s in the Taxpayer Protection Package?

In a year with nearly $5 billion in additional tax collections, we can meet the state’s needs without a tax increase, and have enough left over to provide relief to taxpayers. I have introduced three bills that would keep the state on the right track. They remain under consideration through the end of the 2020 legislative session. They are:

  • Cutting the state sales tax – SB 5610 would reduce the state sales tax from 6.5 percent to 6 percent, putting $2 billion back in taxpayers’ pockets.
  • Property tax “kicker” – SB 5609 strengthens the spending limits approved by Washington voters in 1993 with Initiative 601, preventing unsustainable growth in state spending. This bill adds a twist: When tax collections exceed the limit, the money would have to be used for one-time expenses like roads and schools, or be returned to the taxpayers in the form of a property-tax cut.
  • Incentives for manufacturers – SB 5608 gives all manufacturers the same sales tax rate we offer Boeing, giving manufacturers an incentive to locate or expand in Washington, and create good family-wage jobs.

Energy proposals debated on TVW

Appearing last week on TVW’s Inside Olympia. To see this discussion, click here.

As ranking Republican member of the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee, it was my honor to appear on TVW’s Inside Olympia program last week to discuss Democratic proposals to raise the price of electricity and motor fuel. In this appearance I discussed the fallacies behind these proposals and the impact they will have on working families. Joining me was Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Seattle, chair of the House Environment and Energy Committee.

KOMO report exposes roots of Seattle’s homelessness crisis

You can see this KOMO special report by clicking here.

A KOMO special report aired last weekend tells the real story behind Seattle’s homeless crisis. If you haven’t seen this yet, it is worth a look. The KOMO special makes it clear that this is really a drug crisis, made worse by the reluctance of Seattle’s political leaders to enforce laws against vagrancy. The tent cities along Seattle streets offer us a very visible lesson regarding unintended consequences. Meanwhile, our Seattle-dominated Legislature is considering a bill that would require every community in the state to adopt the same hands-off policies toward the homeless.

Recommended reading

Dori Monson on KIRO: WA Dems stopping Republicans from having 2020 candidate

Lewiston Morning Tribune: Columbia River treaty set to expire; will there be rough waters ahead?

The (Longview) Daily News: Do falling lumber prices hint at economic trouble ahead?

Seattle Times editorial: Climate proposals need better cost analysis

Associated Press: Inslee, Ferguson at odds with sheriffs over gun-control initiative

Jason Rantz on KTTH: New bill would tax vaporizers as if they were cigarettes

Contact us!

Email: Doug@SenatorEricksen.com

Phone: (360) 786-7682

Mail: P.O. Box 40442, Olympia, WA 98504