Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released an updated state revenue forecast on Monday. According to the forecast our state is looking at an increase of $106 million for the ongoing 2013-15 budget cycle and an increase of $309 million on top of the approximate $3 billion of additional revenue for the upcoming 2015-17 budget cycle.
With the forecasted increase our state will have nearly $3.2 billion more in revenue for the next budget cycle – a more than 9 percent increase. I am hopeful this will break the budget negotiation impasse. Republicans have continually stated tax increases should be a last resort to balance and pass a budget. While House Democrats and the governor have been very adamant about wanting new and increased taxes. The governor himself has now backed off his position from December. Read: Inslee says $1.4 billion tax package no longer needed.
The economy remains fragile outside the central Puget Sound region. Now is not the time to raise taxes. It is time to pass a fiscally responsible, sustainable budget without raising or implementing new taxes and adjourn the special session.
Stay in touch
I encourage you to stay in touch during the special session and upcoming interim. Even though legislators won't be in Olympia after we wrap up budget negotiations there are a number of ways to stay informed about our state government and Legislature. Here is a list of a few ways to keep updated on what is happening throughout the year.
- Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of news stories from all daily newspapers around the state, provided by House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- The Current – An online publication, sent out weekly during the session and every couple weeks during the interim, from House Republicans to keep you updated on the legislative process and the caucus. Click here to subscribe.
- Check out my Web site – www.luannevanwerven.com. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my email updates and news releases.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- Legislature's Web site – You can get bill reports, committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov.
During the interim I plan on spending as much time as possible in Whatcom County. I am also available for meetings, speaking engagements and events. In the last couple weeks I have toured Western Washington University (WWU) and the Bellingham Boys and Girls Club, met with Ferndale Mayor Gary Jensen and WWU President Bruce Shepard, and attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of Ferndale's Church Road. I enjoy getting out and about the district so please call Bryan in my Olympia office to let us know about an event or schedule a time to meet.
Luanne Van Werven