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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It has been a wonderful summer so far here in Spokane. I am so blessed to be able to call this beautiful town home.
Recently, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council's monthly report on tax collections showed that Washington state's treasury grew larger last month than Chief Economist Steve Lurch had previously forecasted. The summary of the report noted that the July 11th and August 10th collection period was $72.6 million (6.2%) higher than what was estimated in June. In the report, the Chief Economist pointed to various reasons for the increase, citing that a $22.5 million refund was expected to occur during collections, but had instead been pushed back to a later date. A number of large commercial property sales also attributed $34 million in real estate excise taxes, along with continued growth in retail sales and B&O taxes, showing that our economy is still slowly beginning to rebound.
Last week, I joined with the volunteers at Salvation Army to pass out backpacks to local students. We handed out 1,050 backpacks within the first hour! I love what the folks at Salvation Army are doing to serve our most vulnerable and I am incredibly grateful to be able to work with them. During the drive I was given the “Making Spokane Better” award by the staff.
I wanted to take the time to thank the Salvation Army staff and volunteers for all that they do to better Spokane! You are a blessing to our community!
I also recently attended the Safety Net fundraiser which raises private funding to support former foster youth in their critical years. At the event, we were able to hear from a former foster youth who had lost her mother and was placed in the system. She went on to attend six elementary schools, multiple middle schools and two high schools. Through the support of Safety Net she was able to successfully transition out of foster care and is now attending Eastern Washington University for music! This girl is one of many foster youth who are such an inspiration to us all. I am certain she will continue to do great things in our community! Through my experiences with foster youth, I have found that they have so much untapped potential. We are so fortunate to serve the foster community and have been deeply blessed by all the foster kids we have met.
A healthy economy and a job-friendly Washington will lead to jobs for our citizens, including these foster kids. It is important to keep in mind the state services that serve our most vulnerable, including these foster youth, are only maintainable through positive job growth in the private sector. At the end of the day, it is vital that our foster youth have an environment that supports job growth so they can succeed on their own. State services may provide a safety net, but only education and a job can lift someone out of poverty to create a growing and sustainable life.
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