October Update

October 16, 2014

Humbled by Education Honor

Dear Friends,

There are few things more important to the future of our great state than education. It’s essential that we create opportunities for Washington’s youth to maximize their potential and, consequently, build a brighter economic future for our communities.

As Senate Republican Leader, I’ve worked hard alongside other members of the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) to maintain affordability in our state colleges and universities. Recently, I was humbled to receive the Legislator of the Year award from the Associated Students of Washington State University. I spoke at a recent meeting about my work in higher education, and the MCC’s success freezing tuition for the last two years after nearly 30 years of dramatic annual tuition increases. Reforms in government spending will ensure that we can stop or slow these past increases and invest properly in our state’s higher education.

Green Promises Loom

Apparently, Governor Inslee’s new number one issue is climate change and green energy. Although he campaigned on promises of improving education and the economy, his energy is most certainly centered on the environment. Like I’ve said before, finding common sense, market-based solutions to protecting our environment is important. There are, however, critical issues our state and nation is facing from spending reform to the economy to education.

I’ve written recently about Governor Inslee’s sweeping increases to our state’s water quality standards, and now he’s also proposing a carbon emissions tax. Both will increase regulations and taxes and will hit small business and the middle class the hardest.

His agenda fits in perfectly with that of California billionaire and green activist, Tom Steyer, who is putting big money in Washington State to try and regain Democratic control of the State Senate. Steyer is investing in numerous states where his money has a chance to influence state politics to fulfill his climate change agenda. If the Democrats regain control of the Senate, it would make it very easy for the Governor to achieve his costly, green goals.

Steyer is investing at least $1.25 million into Washington state elections. Much of Steyer’s money was given to the Washington branch of his NextGen Climate Action Committee, and he donated another $50,000 to the Kennedy Fund, a political action committee that supports Democrats in the State Senate.

This is a huge boost for local Democratic campaigns.  But while it furthers Steyer’s and Governor Inslee’s political interests, it will certainly increase the bottom lines for working Washington families. Governor Inslee’s solutions to environmental challenges lack scientific evidence and market-sound common sense.

Governor Inslee’s proposed carbon tax will increase the price of gas, diesel, natural gas and electricity. And, historically, gas prices have a sweeping effect on the economy and on the taxpayers’ pocketbooks.

Although a detailed proposal hasn’t been submitted to the Legislature yet, the Governor’s Climate Change task force is hard at work. In the meantime, Washington State Economists researched the effects of a carbon tax at the level that would reach Governor Inslee’s climate change goals. The results were astounding–the hypothetical tax would increase gas prices by nearly 60 percent and natural gas prices by 35 percent.

Friends, I consistently hear from constituents who are struggling daily to meet the rising costs of government regulation and increased taxes on the state and federal level. As lawmakers, we need to prioritize better, spend smarter, and steward taxpayer resources as we would our own budgets. Environmental stewardship is also important, but drastic increases in regulations and taxes are not the way to do this.

Stay tuned,

Mark

Categories : General

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