Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’re entering the home stretch of the 2014 legislative session. The House will spend the next week in committee hearing Senate bills and the Senate will debate House bills. I anticipate we’ll see the Senate release its supplemental budget proposal shortly, followed by the House proposal. Budget negotiations have been ongoing, but will really start to heat up now that the most recent state revenue forecast has been released. I am enjoying being part of the budget process this year. The next two weeks promise to be interesting.
Yesterday, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council announced that the General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue forecast for 2013-15 has been increased by $30 million and the GF-S forecast for 2015-17 has been increased by $82 million. Of this increase, about $31 million is due to economic changes and $51 million due to revenue from I-502 (recreational marijuana). The forecast is very similar to the November forecast and includes the same risks such as slow Chinese economic growth. However risks associated with Federal fiscal policy have been reduced. Here is a link to the forecast presentation: http://www.erfc.wa.gov/forecast/documents/rev20140219_color.pdf
House Bill 2415 passed the House 90-8. It helps the homeless by creating a pilot program allowing them to use homeless shelters as a temporary address for the purpose of obtaining employment. Many times, without a physical address, people find it nearly impossible to apply for work. My bill is a first step in allowing these people an opportunity to find work and turn their lives around.
In an effort to stay in touch with you over the next few weeks, I will be holding my fifth town hall this year. Rep. Jeff Holy, Sen. Michael Baumgartner and I will host a town hall meeting for residents from the 6th Legislative District. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, 2316 West 1st Avenue, in Browne’s Addition. I’m also hosting another telephone town hall will on Wednesday, March 5 at 6:30 p.m. Residents wishing to participate call toll-free (800) 262-1581. To ask me a question during the event, just press star/asterisk (*) on your telephone keypad. Keeping in contact with you and hearing your feedback is vital in my decision-making process in Olympia. I hope you’ll be able to attend one or both of these events.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000