Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Late last month, the House Democrats introduced their 2019-21 operating budget proposal. It's a $52.6 billion plan that would increase spending by $8.5 billion from current levels and raise taxes by $4.2 billion over the next four years. In a video update I recorded last week, I provided my thoughts on the proposal. Take a look:
When the budget came to the House floor last Friday, we had a lengthy and robust debate. While I voted 'no' on final passage, I appreciate the fact the majority party accepted several Republican amendments, including:
- Increasing Medicaid fraud enforcement, which would save $240 million;
- Providing for more local drug and gang policing in response to the opioid epidemic;
- Raising payment rates for those providing care to seniors and individuals with disabilities;
- Funding programs to reduce veteran suicides;
- Providing a cost-of-living adjustment for retired teachers and public employees;
- Giving additional assistance to mostly small and rural-school districts uniquely affected by the McCleary legislation;
- Increasing transportation funding for homeless youth and foster children so they can stay in their school district;
- Investing in hatchery production at state and tribal fisheries with an emphasis on Chinook salmon, the Orca's preferred prey.
While these amendments improved the proposal, none of us in the House Republican Caucus could vote in favor of $8.5 billion in new spending and $4.2 billion in new taxes. Below is a mashup of highlights from our floor speeches.
A word about town halls
This year, Sen. Rivers, Rep. Vick and I have held seven town hall meetings throughout the 18th Legislative District. The photos below are from our most recent town hall at the Port of Camas-Washougal last month.
Thank you to each and every one of you who have joined us at these meetings. Your feedback helps us serve you more effectively here in the Legislature. I'll make sure to keep you posted about future town hall dates.
80 seconds with TVW
Last month, I sat down with TVW to record a short video for their 'Legislator Profiles' series. I hope you'll take 80 seconds to learn a little bit more about me and what my priorities are as your state representative.
Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions or concerns about specific bills or anything else that's on your mind. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my phone number is (360) 786-7812.
It is an honor to serve you.