Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Although I am disappointed it took extra time, the Legislature produced strongly supported bipartisan supplemental operating and capital budgets. One of the most important aspects of my job is to protect the dollars you send to Olympia. I am pleased to report the final result of these tough negotiations does not raise our taxes, nor does it unnecessarily use the state's rainy-day fund. As we head into the 2017, these minor adjustments to the previously approved two-year plan will put us in a much better position to continue to make improvements for all Washingtonians.
Because it is an election year, this will be the final legislative update I am able to send out until late December. However, I can respond if you contact me directly. Please remember that although we are a part-time Legislature, I work for you year-round. I encourage you to call or email me if you have ideas, comments or questions about your state government.
The 2016 supplemental operating and capital budgets
The original operating, capital and transportation budgets approved just last year are where most of the major spending decisions for our state were made. The plan, approved during the 2015 session, pays for the day-to-day operation of state government from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017.
Supplemental budgets are intended for minor adjustments, or one-time expenditures, to address items that could not be foreseen in the original budget – like the damages caused by devastating wildfires in 2015. The 2016 supplemental operating budget, approved on March 29, adjusted state spending by 0.5 percent in the context of a $38 billion budget. The plan, as approved by the Legislature, continues to comply with one of the best reforms in state government in recent years – our four-year balanced budget. However, I am concerned certain line-item vetoes announced last week by the governor may put that in jeopardy.
Along with helping to rebuild after the wildfires, this updated budget addresses mental health treatment and care, homelessness and K-12 school construction. One of the smaller items in total dollars, but an important investment, is $1.7 in professional development for paraeducators who provide more than 50 percent of classroom instruction to special needs students.
2016 session successes
- Expanding investments in mental health facilities and services. House Bill 2376 and House Bill 2380
- Provided pay raises for Washington State Patrol troopers. House Bill 2872
- Saved public charter schools. Senate Bill 6194
- Established the Washington Cybercrime Act. House Bill 2375
- Enhanced teacher recruitment. Senate Bill 6455
- Created the Parent-to-Parent program – a statewide program that connects parents of individuals with developmental disabilities with support and services. House Bill 2394
In 2015, state lawmakers passed a $16 billion transportation package to fund new projects throughout the state. Given the growth projections in our area, these improvements are essential to reduce traffic congestion on I-5 and near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I'm glad to share with you improvements for the 28th District include:
I-5, Mounts Road (exit 116) to Thorne Lane (exit 123) – Corridor improvements
- Rebuild Thorne Lane interchange (exit 123).
- Rebuild Berkeley Street interchange (exit 122).
- Add one lane to both directions of I-5 between Thorne Lane and DuPont-Steilacoom Road.
- Build local road connection between Gravelly Lake Drive and Thorne Lane.
- Additional I-5 improvements from DuPont-Steilacoom Road (exit 119) to Mounts Road (exit 116) are being defined.
New 28th District office location
In order to better serve the people in the 28th District, we have opened an office in Steilacoom. This office will be a resource for constituents to reach me while the Legislature is not in session.
511 Chambers Street Steilacoom, WA 98388 Office phone: (253) 244-7892
Our district office is open Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Our Olympia office is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
I want to hear from you!
If you have an idea or comment about how we can improve state government I welcome your suggestions. The best legislation comes from my meetings with people from our community. Feel free to call or email my office to set up a meeting time.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Olympia!