Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for the honor of serving you. As your newest legislator in the 28th District, my goal is to ensure you have the information you need about what is going on in your state government. In case you missed it, the governor held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that he was calling the Legislature into a special session beginning Thursday, Nov. 7, to address some issues impacting our state's aerospace industry. He outlined five elements he wants to address before Nov. 13:
- pass a tax incentive package for aerospace businesses in Washington;
- pass legislation to speed up project permitting efficiency for expansion of the Boeing 777X production facility;
- address additional investments in workforce development and training;
- pass a transportation tax package (gas tax and other transportation fees for current and new projects around the state), which lawmakers have yet to see; and
- adopt an executive rule (made solely by the governor) regarding fish consumption and water quality changes.
First, I wish this process for addressing the many issues impacting our aerospace industry was moving slower to allow more public input on the bills. These measures are not just about Boeing. If we are going to get serious about improving the state's business climate, we must take to heart the concerns of Boeing and the thousands of aerospace manufacturers and suppliers – 101, or 3,770 job, are located in Pierce County – and take action to assure these companies that we want them here in our state providing good-paying jobs and spurring innovation.
I have linked the tax incentive, permitting and workforce training bills above. I am looking them over carefully as I write this e-mail. I encourage you to contact me with questions. If I don't know the answer, I will find the information you need.
Second, rushing a transportation tax package through is not something I support. Not only do I believe we need to enact accountability and transparency reforms before considering new and higher taxes and fees, but we must also pass legislation that addresses the cost drivers in our transportation projects. We expect a report from a special legislative work group at the end of the year that will outline a series of reform measures that tackle higher-than-average costs in the building and delivery of transportation-related infrastructure – ferries, bridges, pontoons and many other things our tax dollars fund. I believe we should wait for the report and enact the reforms prior to considering increasing taxes on struggling Washingtonians.
It's also worth noting that trying to craft a transportation project list to justify the tax increases the governor wants is a time-consuming process. We want to get it right, maximize your money for the projects and earn back your trust in a way that shows we are being efficient and effective with your transportation tax dollars.
Finally, the special session could last as long as 30 days. My hope is we come to agreement on the aerospace bills in the next few days and hold off on a transportation tax package until we get reforms in place and can assess whether new and higher taxes and fees are necessary for road projects. You can watch committee hearings and floor debates live or taped at www.tvw.org.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and questions. My contact information is at the bottom of this e-mail. Please feel free to forward this e-mail to anyone you believe would be interested in the issues we are working on in the Legislature.