Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're over half-way through the 2012 legislative session with still not a peep from the majority party on their spending plan and potential tax increase package to solve our state's budget shortfall. In my last e-newsletter, I talked about our “Fund Education First” proposal – which has received a ton of support from parents, teachers, principals, superintendents and education groups around the state. We even rolled out a full, very detailed education budget to show how it could be done. To read the press release I sent out on this bill – which I cosponsored – click here. To read more details about our Fund Education First plan, click here.
We're also expecting to release our complete supplemental budget proposal very soon – so stay tuned for more details. I believe our budget – even though we're in the minority – will be the first budget from either the House or Senate this session.
Another bill I cosponsored passed the House this week. House Bill 2607 is a budget reform measure that would help bring stability and accountability to the state's budgeting process. It requires the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to publish a six-year budget outlook when the governor releases his or her preliminary budget proposal and related documents before each legislative session begins. The outlook must use the most recent revenue and caseload forecasts and will be updated by OFM to reflect both legislative actions and revenue forecast changes.
The six-year outlook is something that OFM had done regularly in the past, but in recent years has not included it in the governor's budget release. With this bill, the six-year outlook would be mandatory, giving lawmakers and citizens a better picture of the state's long-term fiscal health and the impact proposed policies have on future budgets.
The spending decisions we make in the Legislature today aren't just felt for one or two years; they impact us down the road for years to come. Having a clear picture of what our state's fiscal health looks like six years from now because of the decisions we make today will help hold legislators more accountable, keep the public more informed and, hopefully, lead to greater budget stability in the future.
A visit from Rick Santorum
Former Pennsylvania Senator and current Presidential candidate Rick Santorum visited Olympia this week. He came into our caucus room for a few minutes and spoke with House Republican members. I gotta tell ya – I've never seen so many TV cameras on our side of the aisle in the entire time I've been in the Legislature! It was a pretty interesting day.
I did want to share one quick thing he talked about. He quoted a study recently done by the Brookings Institution on poverty. The study says that if you do these three things – work, graduate from high school, and wait until you're married to have kids – you have only a 2% chance of ending up impoverished. I know what you're thinking – “Gee, Dave, that seems like common sense, doesn't it?” But think about it; so much of our society today is geared to either keep us from doing those three things, or to be apathetic enough about them that we don't make them a priority. In my mind, government – at all levels – has a huge vested interest in encouraging citizen success in those three areas.
On the big screen again
Also last week, I told you about my first appearance on TVW – Washington's public affairs channel (our state's version of C-SPAN). I was asked to come back to the studio to talk about our state's elections system and a couple bills that came through the State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee, where I serve as the ranking Republican. I also did a quick recording just off the House floor in the Capitol Rotunda on government reform. If you want to watch government reform show, click the picture on the left. If you want to watch the elections episode, click the picture on the right and then scroll the media player to 26:26 on the counter. While it's been fun, I can guarantee that Brad Pitt has nothing to w
orry about from this cowpoke!
As always, feel free to contact my office with questions or concerns. The last couple weeks have been extremely fast-paced and hectic, with a lot of very long nights on House floor. But it's always good to hear from folks back home. Thanks again for the privilege of serving you in Olympia – it is truly an honor and I try my very best to represent you with integrity and intelligence while fighting for the things that you hold dear.