Washington State House Democrats


Sells’ 3/27/17 Update: Senate Budget / Sound Transit 3 / Low Unemployment

Senate Budget

The state’s budget is a statement of our values. The spending decisions we make as a legislature have real impacts on people like you and me, and especially on the most vulnerable among us.

As you know, the Senate Republican budget proposal was released earlier this week. The cuts it relies on show little regard for people who are struggling and will harm our children, our families, and our state. Many of their cuts are not only harmful; they’re also shortsighted and would end up costing our state more down the road.

Some of the cuts are particularly concerning, for example:

  • State Need Grant: It doesn’t address the state’s wait list of over 24,000 eligible students in need who do not receive help because the program is underfunded. Our economy is growing. Our employers can’t fill open positions because we don’t have enough college grads in the pipeline. Washington needs to invest in our college students, not kick the can for another two years.
  • Housing and Essential Needs: Their budget also makes cuts in the Homeless Student Stability Program, Young Adult Shelters and Young Adult Housing Program. There are 3,200 students reported as homeless in Snohomish County schools annually. Cutting homeless youth services will only worsen this crisis. We must break the cycle.
Senate Budget cuts


House Democrats will introduce our budget today. It will represent our shared values by helping working families, fully funding K-12 schools, continuing to fix our mental health system, closing the opportunity gap, and supporting at-risk youth.

As the process continues, I will remain a staunch advocate for the people and values of the 38th legislative district.

Sound Transit 3

Last November, voters approved Sound Transit 3 to expand regional light-rail and ease congestion. The initiative included a motor vehicle excise tax increase.

People have been receiving their car tab renewals over the past few weeks and many have a significantly higher charge than in previous years. In addition, the Department of Licensing (DOL) believes a number of vehicles may have been valued incorrectly due to errors when they were titled, or incorrect values reported from dealers.


It’s important to remember that any significant changes to the approved initiative could reduce ST3 funding and delay or jeopardize projects that many have already complained will take too long to complete.

In response to these and other issues surrounding ST3, House Democrats have introduced five pieces of legislation to offer relief, rebates, and reform:

  • Relief on car values—House Bill 2147 changes the way Sound Transit values cars to make depreciation happen on a faster schedule, resulting in lower costs to taxpayers.
  • Rebates—House Bill 2148 allows Sound Transit to offer a rebate of up to 40% on car tab charges for low-income vehicle owners and a similar rebate on the property tax charge for Sound Transit 3.
  • Accountability—House Bill 2149 requires DOL to send information on the budget and status of Sound Transit projects when it sends annual vehicle renewal and registration. This would include links to websites where vehicle owners can learn more, providing information and accountability directly to the taxpayer.
  • On time and on budget— House Bill 2150 requires a similar taxpayer accountability statement to property taxpayers by directing county auditors to provide information on the status of Sound Transit projects.
  • Working together—House Bill 2151 directs transit agencies to improve coordination with Sound Transit and other agencies and show measurable progress as they integrate service with Sound Transit.

If you believe or have proof that your car is incorrectly valued, call the Department of Licensing at 360-902-3770 or email customercare@dol.wa.gov.

Unemployment at a nine-year low

According to the Employment Security Department’s latest report released last Thursday, Washington’s economy added 6,100 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell from 5.1 to 4.9 percent, making it the lowest since March 2008.

The greatest job growth was in construction with 2,000 new jobs. In addition, professional and business services increased 1,300; leisure and hospitality added 1,100; other services were up 1,000; financial activities jumped 500; and wholesale trade and information added 100 jobs each. Although as a whole the state gained jobs, retail trade, transportation, warehousing & utilities, and manufacturing lost 2,000 jobs last month.

Washington added more than 85,000 jobs from February 2016 to February 2017: over 73,000 new jobs in the private sector and 12,000 in the public sector.

The bad news is not all of our counties are experiencing such growth. We have to do more to help people find jobs and success all across the state, not just in our heavily populated areas.

Learn more at the ESD report site.

Thank you for your time and interest in your legislature. Please contact my office if you need information on any legislative issue, or if you have concerns, ideas or feedback.