We are officially one-third of the way through the 2021 legislative session and have moved from mostly spending time in committee to spending a majority of the time on the floor voting on bills.
Many of my colleagues continue to work remotely; as Republican whip, I am in Olympia, working from my office in the Newhouse Building and from my desk on the Senate floor in the Legislative Building.
While the 2021 legislative session is vastly different, some things are still the same. In odd years, the legislature implements a two-year operating budget. Last week, the Senate Republican lead on the Ways and Means Committee, Lynda Wilson, shared our caucus’ operating budget proposal for 2021-23. I want to share some of those highlights with you but the most important takeaway from this budget is that it will not cut services and will not increase your taxes! When you hear the majority party say that we need to increase and implement new taxes to pass our state’s operating budget, it simply isn’t true; we just did it. Some of the highlights include:
- Increases the transportation budget, by adding the sales tax revenue from vehicles to that fund
- Puts $1 billion into schools with focus on re-opening
- Eliminates the B&O tax on manufacturing
- Reduces catastrophic wildfires by funding the Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health Plan – which proposes treating 1.25 million acres in the coming years
- Provides $200 million to the state broadband office to reduce inequities in rural and underserved populations
- Reduces the tax burden for working families by providing up to $700/year for low-income families with 2 or more children
- Adds body scanners to every state correctional facility providing a safer more rehabilitative environment for correctional officers and offenders alike.