Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
In order to ensure fair and proper elections, Washington State has stringent rules on the use of public resources during election years. Senators who are up for re-election in 2016, including me, must follow specific rules and laws concerning our written communications with you. As of December, I am not allowed to send out e-newsletter updates until the beginning of the 2016 legislative session – and then I may only send these updates to those who have actively subscribed.
If you wish to continue receiving my e-news updates from Olympia, please click on the link below to subscribe.
In the coming year I will be working on a variety of issues that many of you have brought to my attention. In addition, I will continue to work on the significant budget and policy challenges facing our state. Washington must address education funding. This means taking a serious look at reforming our state’s K-12 levy system and giving school boards and educators the freedom they need to educate our children.
In addition to school funding, the Legislature must act to protect school choice and allow the 1,200 students and their families that chose charter schools the opportunity to learn in an environment that works for them. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the way we are funding the state’s charter schools is unconstitutional. I will be working on a legislative fix to ensure those schools have the resources they need to educate our students.
When the Legislature convenes in January 2016, we will be working to address the voter-approved initiative 1366.This measure requires legislators to send a constitutional amendment to the people requiring a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes or face a reduction in the state sales tax. The people of this state have made their opinion clear multiple times, voting to make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes. It is time for the Legislature to follow up on the will of the people.
Although the recent revenue forecast projected growth, we face another budget challenge as a result of mismanagement by the state Health Care Authority. Costs are coming in much higher than projected. Over half of the Health Care Authority’s cost increase can be attributed to managed care rates that are significantly higher than previously budgeted.
2015 stands out as a banner year for taxpayers in Washington. The Legislature adjourned after numerous special sessions with a two-year operating budget that reflects the values of our communities and state. We invested in education, promoted policies to stimulate job creation and invested in our college students with a historic and nationally unprecedented tuition cut.
We need to continue this momentum and make our state’s education system and economy the best in the nation.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I look forward to connecting with you when the Legislature convenes in early January.
407 Legislative Building
PO Box 40420
Olympia, WA 98504-0420
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