We are in the final stretch of the legislative session and a lot of great work is getting done to try to finish the session on time. The official end of this session is March 10 at midnight. Before then, we need to reach an agreement on an update to the state’s budget and many important bills.
I just want to thank all of you who gave me feedback and ideas on our work in Olympia this year. I very much appreciate your calls and emails because, at the end of the day, I’m serving you!
My Wonderful Staff
I have to thank my wonderful staff for this year (left to right): Debbie Austin, my Senior Legislative Assistant; Holly Cocci, my intern from WSU; and Sadie Beckenhauer, my Session Aide. My office was so well-run this year and I know it was because of all their hard work as part of the Angel Team. Thank you!
Telephone Town Hall Success: Thank you for participating!
Last week I spoke with hundreds of you in our telephone town hall, answering your questions on many different topics from how we handle tolling on the Narrows Bridge to how we prioritize our tax dollars. I appreciate all of your questions and feedback as we move into the last week of session. Thank you for participating!
State Budget Update: Living Within Our Means
Our state operates on a two-year budget cycle. That means the budget we passed last year is set to run from 2015 to 2017. In non-budget years, like this one, we only need to make updates and changes based on emergencies or technical issues that arose since we passed the full two-year budget.
Here’s a quick summary of our budget update this year:
We followed four principles:
The Senate plan is sustainable and follows our state’s four-year balanced budget requirement, which the House supplemental spending plan doesn’t do. We also demand accountability and better results for both taxpayers and people receiving services from problem agencies such as the Health Care Authority, DSHS, Western State Hospital, Dept. of Corrections and more.
Most importantly, the Senate budget update lives within its means. That means no new taxes and no raiding the state’s emergency reserves – an accounting trick the House used in their plan to increase spending.
A final agreement on a supplemental budget update will be negotiated in the coming days.
Local Students at the Capitol
I enjoy helping students get involved with government, so I was proud to sponsor these local students who participated in the Senate Page Program. The Senate Page Program is an opportunity for Washington students to spend a week working in the Legislature and is open to all students aged 14-16.
Helen Kim, sophomore at Charles Wright Academy
Kaden Ketcham, sophomore at Gig Harbor High School
Trevor Kvinsland, sophomore at Gig Harbor High School