We’ve reached week 7 of session and things are really starting to move. The cutoff for policy bills was last week and this Friday is cutoff for financial bills. I am working hard to pass bills that will benefit the State and the 38th LD. I appreciate hearing from constituents about the various bills we are considering and it has been great to have so many make the trip to Olympia to discuss the issues they are passionate about.
Aerospace Tax Incentives
One issue that I heard about from constituents all summer and that I continue to hear about daily, is making Boeing accountable for the tax incentives they were given in 2013. Last week, I dropped a bill, HB 2147, to do just that. I want to be clear that I am not anti-Boeing; however, taking pride in our aerospace economy means protecting not only some jobs, but all jobs. When the people of Washington offer tax breaks to any business, those breaks should be linked to job creation and retention. If the jobs are lost, the tax breaks should be reduced. Our state faces budget challenges—funding schools, higher ed, and human services—so we should not be subsidizing a company that shifts the cost of job loss to taxpayers. HB 2147 will fix these issues and hold Boeing accountable for the tax breaks they were given.
The recent outbreak of measles from California has brought a renewed attention to the low-rates of vaccination across the country, but also in Washington State. We have one of the worst vaccination rates in the country, which is why I sponsored HB 2009. This bill would remove the personal exemption as a reason not to vaccinate children. It keeps the medical and religious exemptions in place. Maintaining high vaccination rates and herd immunity is critical for public health. The more people who are vaccinated, the safer our communities and children are.
Outdated and Unfair — Talking Taxes in Washington
One of my new committees this year is the Finance Committee. We work on tax related issues and USA Today recently reported that Washington had “by far the most regressive tax system nationwide.” In the video above, my colleague, Rep. Reuven Carlyle, outlines Washington’s broken and regressive tax structure, and explains how Washington’s high reliance on a sales tax has placed an unfair tax burden on its poorest citizens. Our system isn’t working, and it’s unfair to the middle class. According to the data in the USA Today story, the poorest 20% of Washington families pay nearly 17% of their income in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest 1% in Washington pay just 2.4% — “one of the highest such ratios nationwide.”
I will be holding a town hall in Everett on Saturday, March 14. Please be on the lookout for future details about the time and location. I would love to see as many of you as possible in person and please continue to email and call my office about issues that are important to you.