The Legislature is now into its third week of the 30-day special session. Budget writers and party leadership are still trying to work out a budget deal.
Although there’s not much to report yet, I will be sure to post an update here when an agreement is reached. In the meantime, I’m working hard alongside my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that the final budget is sustainable, balanced, prioritizes education and doesn’t increase taxes.
To recap where we are, there’s a big divide between the House and Senate budget proposals. The Senate’s budget balances in four years, funds education first, protects vulnerable groups and does not increase taxes on Washingtonians or on business while the House budget relies mainly on $900 million dollars of tax increases. Both budgets passed out of their respective chambers but didn’t make it any further.
I believe that shaking up business as usual in Olympia is long overdue—the status quo hasn’t been working. The solution to our state’s economic woes is not to increase revenue by reaching deeper into taxpayers’ pockets. Rather, encouraging an economic climate where the private sector can thrive will increase the tax revenue.
Washingtonians have repeated the same plea over and over—they won’t stand for more and higher taxes. In fact, Portland-based polling firm Moore Information recently conducted a comprehensive survey of Washington residents. The survey concluded that 89 percent of voters favor cutting government waste and 71 percent thought that now is not the right time to raise taxes. Furthermore, when the Legislature’s current debate was outlined, a majority of voters sided with the Senate’s budget proposal.
Small Step Forward for Wolf v. Livestock Issue
In other news, the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission just passed an emergency rule to allow property owners to shoot a gray wolf that is in the act of killing a pet or livestock in areas where the gray wolf is not listed as endangered or threatened under the federal endangered species act. I sponsored legislation this year that, if passed, would have made this temporary rule law.
I commend the Fish & Wildlife Commission for taking this important first step at protecting property owners and their livelihoods. Although the rule is temporary, it could become permanent in the future.
As always, I welcome your feedback. I am humbled to represent you and value engagement from my constituents.
Sen. Mark Schoesler