Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Yesterday, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released its estimates for our state's revenues and economic climate during the next three months. This news warrants some optimism that light is at the end of the tunnel.
Dr. Arun Raha, the state's chief economist, projects Washington will reign in $31.5 million more revenue in the next quarter, demonstrating consumer spending is improving. He further believes Washington will outperform the rest of the country and may begin seeing some job growth in the next three months.
Studies show that 64 percent of jobs created are by way of small businesses. Presidents from JFK to Ronald Reagan used lower taxes and tax incentives to spur small job growth. To spur small business growth, it's necessary to not raise taxes, reform the injured workers fund, and reform unemployment insurance. Revenue from private sector jobs provide a much more sustainable funding source for education and other essential services than increased taxes which will encumber job growth.
According to a King County Superior Court decision, the Legislature has not adequately fulfilled its constitutional duty, as mandated in Article 9, section 1. This doesn't mean we should augment the state's budget, but make education a higher priority within the current budget.
This weekend, the House voted on a bill that would make early learning for “at risk” children part of the definition of “basic education.” I voted in favor of this measure, because I believe we can make our education system serve every student better if we catch learning shortfalls early in their education career. In certain socio demographics, if a student is not proficient in reading by the 4th grade, odds are 83 percent that child will spend time in jail.
I would like to hear from you!
Recently, I mailed out a survey to you. Thank you to all who mailed it back. Next weekend, I'm hosting two town halls in Spokane.
Please join me Saturday, Feb. 20 at one of the following locations:
Ridgeview Elementary School, multipurpose room
Education, 9 – 10 a.m.
5610 North Maple Street, Spokane
Museum of Arts and Culture
Jobs and the economy, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
2316 W. First Ave, Spokane
Though I want to focus on these two critical issues, please come with any questions or concerns you have. I look forward to seeing you.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000