Dear Friends and Neighbors,
After months of speculation about whether or not the House Democrats' 2019-21 operating budget proposal would include tax increases, we finally got an answer last week. Their $52.6 billion budget would raise taxes by $4.2 billion over the next four years, while increasing spending by $8.5 billion.
In a video update I recorded last week, I provided my thoughts on the proposal, as well as the much more bipartisan 2019-21 House transportation budget. Take a look:
If the House Democrats' operating budget proposal becomes law, state spending will have increased 70% since 2013. That's astounding, and it shows a complete lack of fiscal discipline by the majority party.
At a time when many economists are predicting a significant downturn in the next two years, we should not be spending every dime you've provided us OR asking you for more money. We should instead budget in such a way that if a recession does come, the damage will be minimized.
The latest on my bills
After being approved by the House, three of my bills are continuing to make their way through the legislative process.
House Bill 1764 would update the storage requirements pertaining to lost and found items that are required to be stored by local governments—typically by local police departments. The bill was approved by the Senate on Wednesday, and now heads to the governor's desk.
House Bill 2033 would establish three types of offenses for when mandatory reporters—professional school personnel, licensed nurses, psychologists, social service counselors, licensed child care providers, etc.—fail to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the authorities. I'm working hard to ensure this bill gains traction in the Senate, but it hasn't moved as of yet.
House Bill 2050 would create a specialty Washington Wine license plate that would feature a scenic landscape of Washington wine country. The plate would cost $40, with proceeds going to support ongoing research efforts at the wine science facility at WSU Tri-Cities. The bill received a public hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee last week, and is now awaiting further action.
Test-driving the Tango electric vehicle
Earlier this session, I had the opportunity to test drive the Tango electric vehicle, one of the smallest vehicles in the world at just 8'5″ long and 39″ wide. The Tango was created by Spokane's Rick Woodbury, whose made it his mission to reduce traffic congestion around the world. He believes the Tango could help in that effort, and traveled to Olympia to testify in favor of House Bill 1510. The bill, which was approved in the House and is now in the Senate, would establish narrow track vehicles (NTVs for short) as a new class of motor vehicle in Washington state.
I really enjoyed test-driving the Tango, and applaud Rick for his hard work and dedication to reducing congestion on our roadways. Take a look at the footage of the test drive:
My new legislative Facebook page
Ethics rules governing social media use here in the Legislature can be confusing and restrictive, so I decided to take part in a new legislative Facebook pilot program that was just launched. On my new page, I'll be able to communicate even more effectively and provide up-to-the-minute updates about the latest from Olympia. I invite you to 'like' and 'follow' my page by clicking on the image below.
As we enter the home stretch of this 105-day legislative session, please continue reaching out to me with your comments, questions or concerns. My phone number is (360) 786-7948 and my email address is Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov.
It is an honor to serve you.