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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I'm back in Olympia this week voting on bills necessary to implement the budget and hopefully soon, the 2013-15 operating budget. While I am discouraged by the pace of the 2013 session and the subsequent special session, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and believe we can complete our work before July 1.
The 2013 AGORA awards were recently handed out by Greater Spokane Inc. (GSI), and I was happy to see more outstanding Spokane businesses honored and congratulated for the important role they play in the community and for contributing to the region's economic growth. My business received an award last year, and I thank the 2013 recipients for being exceptional members of the community.
One winner this year caught my attention as a business who deserves some positive attention. Rosauers Supermarkets has been an important part of the Spokane area since 1934. The company and president Jeff Phillipp's commitment to both their customers and employees is truly a model other businesses should strive toward.
The state's revenue forecast released on June 18 revealed the state could bring in another $231 million more than expected, in addition to the $2 billion more the state will bring in between the 2011-13 budget and the 2013-15 budget. The caseload forecast later revealed $90 million in savings as a result of reduced enrollment in schools, correctional facilities and social services. As an economics professor at Whitworth University, I look forward to these forecasts as they really offer us a look at what is ahead for our state.
This is good news, as it shows we don't need additional revenue to fully fund education, protect our most vulnerable and preserve public safety.
Another area where we have heard calls for a tax increase from some in Olympia is an increased gas tax to fund transportation improvements and projects. In fact, just today a bill was considered which would generate $10 billion to be spent over 12 years through a myriad of fees including:
- A gas tax increase of 10.5 cents per gallon over 2 years
- A passenger weight fee increase ranging from $14, $25, or $35
- A $5.00 fee for each vehicle registration renewal not processed by a sub-agent and a $12.00 fee for each certificate of title transaction not processed by a sub-agent
- Fee increase of $6 per year for an Enhanced Driver's License.
I want to hear from you; please click here to take a one-question survey where you can tell me if you support a gas tax increase.
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