Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week I wanted to let you know about ways you can ask me questions in two different town hall settings. The first opportunity will be during an in person town hall this Saturday in Airway Heights:
Saturday, April 13
11 a.m. – noon
Sunset Elementary School
12824 W 12th Ave
Airway Heights, WA
The second town hall will actually be a Telephone Town Hall, and you will be able to speak to me from the comfort of your own home! On Wednesday, April 17, I will spend an hour answering your questions live during a community conversation.
The conversation begins at 6:30 p.m. and it's easy to participate.
Call toll-free 1-877-229-8493 and enter the code 15438 when prompted. Once on the line, you may select *3 on your telephone keypads to ask a question or you can simply listen in and take part in instant polls.
Some dark economic clouds are beginning to break. In the second half of 2012 the Spokane region picked up in terms of growth on the employment side. Last time we had significant employment growth was in 2007.
Of course any growth in employment is a encouraging trend. In terms of the economy of our region this is especially important because we saw growth in the service sector which makes up about 70 percent of our regional economy. The service sector is a broad range of employment that reaches across many socio-demographics.
This week we heard a third budget proposal, this time from the House Democrats. In fact, yesterday I spent eight and a half hours in the House Appropriations Committee hearing public testimony on their budget bill. Their plan includes over $1.22 billion in new and increased taxes, leaves very little in reserves, and drains the state's rainy day fund.
I find it very unlikely that three-fifths of the legislative body would vote to deplete the rainy day fund. The amount left in reserves, $337 million dollars, would equate to only 8 working days in state government. This is not a very large buffer if we were to receive more bad news in future revenue forecasts.
The state is already receiving two billion dollars more in additional revenue in the 2013-2015 biennium and I'm disappointed with the message this proposal sends to hardworking taxpayers. This equates to a 6.6 percent increase to the state's balance books. I know a number of small businesses and families in the 6th District who would love to see a 6.6 percent increase in their budgets. We don't need to increase taxes, we need to be responsible with the money we already have.
It is an honor to serve you, please contact me if I can help in any way.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000