Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Town Hall Event in the 6th District this Saturday
I will be holding a town hall this weekend with my seatmates to provide an update of the 2013 session and answer questions from you at Lincoln Heights Elementary, 3322 East 22nd Avenue, Spokane starting at 10 a.m. this Saturday, March 16.
Throughout my five years in office, I've held many town halls in the district and find them to be the best way to connect with people. I hope to see many Sixth District constituents this weekend.
Last week, I had an outstanding visitor from Spokane come to see me in Olympia. Breanna Nix is a Reardon High School senior who spoke at her school's anti-bullying assembly last year where I had the pleasure of meeting her. Brianna has shown thoughtful leadership and will be a community changer in the coming years. I wouldn't be surprised if one day she is walking around Olympia as an elected leader, making a difference for the people of Spokane.
The 2013-2015 Operating Budget
In my last email update I included a graph which showed where the state chose to spend money in the 2011-2013 Operating Budget. The most significant thing to me in that chart was the amount of money spent on our K-12 public schools. As I have said in the past, education is our paramount duty, and agree with the Supreme Court McCleary decision which implored the Legislature to provide more for our students.
House Republicans have propose meeting the state's constitutional directive by funding K-12 education first in the state budget, before any other programs or services. Our proposal would allocate 51 percent of the state budget to K-12, including fully funding all-day kindergarten ($349 million) and one-half of K-3 class-size enhancements ($575 million) in the upcoming 2013-15 biennium.
Our solution would prioritize K-12 education spending and not rely on tax increases. Our children's education is too important to gamble away. Don't believe the rhetoric, the reality is we can fully fund education with the revenue we have available.
What does national sequestration mean for our state?
I have heard many questions from constituents and people in Olympia about what the national sequestration means for our state government. First, it means federal funding will be lost nationwide, and the state must decide how best to help these groups. Washington stands to lose approximately $14 million in funding to our K-12 schools, and $900,000 for college students. In addition, there will be cuts of about $2.8 million to people with disabilities. Second, and most importantly, it means it is absolutely vital we pass a sustainable budget this biennium that puts us back on the right course, and helps small businesses hire unemployed workers in our state.
I hope to see you this weekend at my town hall.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000