Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Gov. Jay Inslee proposed over $400 million in new taxes this week on bottled water, prescriptions drugs and janitorial services – something the voters rejected just a few years ago. He also wants to end the out-of-state sales tax exemption for non-Washingtonians, which would seriously hurt border communities like Spokane as consumers would have less incentive so spend their money here in our state. Our state economy is stable but fragile. I don't believe the governor's plan is a smart way to further stabilize our economy and help create local jobs.
House Bill 2415, my bill to help the homeless get a job, received a public hearing last week and was featured in an article in The Spokesman-Review. To read the article, titled “Rep. Kevin Parker puts concerns of homeless into action,” click here.
House Bill 2390 would help protect veterans from scams and misleading information when they fill out forms and apply for certain veteran benefits and services. This bill received a public hearing in the House Community Development and Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee this week.
The picture on the left is Shawn Dobbs with me on the House floor after hours last week. He works at Lighthouse. Shawn lost his sight at age 12. We discovered we both have a love for college basketball. Shawn uses humor to share his story and to educate people about everyday issues that people who are blind face. He said. “I wanted to play college basketball until I discovered a team doesn't want a short blind guy.” His humor gives tremendous depth to his educating people about blindness.
I want to thank those of you who were able to join us last week for our 6th Legislative District telephone town hall. My seatmate, Rep. Jeff Holy, and I appreciated you taking the time to express your opinions to us on several key issues. We had 4,173 participants and at one time, we have over 650 people on the phone at the same time listening in and discussing state government! Great participation from the folks back in Spokane! Also, here is a quick recap of the survey questions we asked and the results:
1) What is the most important issue for you – the one that impacts you the most?
- Jobs/The Economy = 34.1%
- K-12 Education = 15.9%
- Health Care = 12.5%
- State Spending = 21.6%
- Transportation = 6.8%
- Other = 9.1%
2) How do you feel about the economy where you work and live?
- Cautiously optimistic = 23.6%
- It will be about the same for a while = 20.8%
- Somewhat pessimistic = 26.4%
- No confidence that it will rebound any time soon = 29.2%
3) Would you support paying more at the pump (gas tax increase) to complete current and new transportation projects?
- No, I can't afford it = 22.4%
- No, I don't believe it will benefit our area = 20.7%
- Yes, if reforms are made = 20.7%
- Yes, we have real transportation needs in our area = 19%
- Maybe, I would need to know more = 17.2%
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns. Thank you again for allowing me to serve you in Olympia.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000