Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2022 legislative session is getting closer. So much has happened since we adjourned last April. The governor continues to rule as a government of one, including issuing his vaccine mandate that threatened the loss of employment for those who wouldn't comply. There are several other bad public policies that have had an impact on our state this interim, as well. Here are a few:
- New long-term care insurance program and payroll tax, including our efforts torepeal this tax and FAQs
- What are House Republicans doing to reform the governor's emergency powers?
- Why the Democrats' police reform bills have put officers at risk and made our communities less safe
- Democrats' regressive policies will continue to make things hard for low-income families by creating more pain at the pump
- Why breaching out dams would do more harm than good
- Democrats' latest new tax increases | 2019-21
Update on State Tax Structure
Speaking of taxes, I am one of eight select legislators to be appointed to the statewide bipartisan Tax Structure Work Group because of my professional background, experience, and success at crafting balanced budgets. The Tax Structure Work Group was created in 2017 “to identify options to make the Washington state tax code more equitable, adequate, stable and transparent.” In May, the group released six tax “scenarios,” including a plan to implement a personal income tax. These tax proposals have been shared and discussed throughout the state during the interim at multiple town halls.
However, based on the state's current economic status, there is simply no good reason to raise taxes right now.
Despite the economic impact of the pandemic, our state's tax revenue forecast is incredibly strong. In fact, according to the most recent forecast from the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, announced in November, the state expects a continuing trend of robust tax revenue collections.
Additionally, you probably remember the majority party introduced a very unpopular and unnecessary capital gains income tax last April. I voted against this and other horrible tax policies that were introduced. Due to a pending lawsuit, the tax is currently on hold. However, the people of Washington and the state Supreme Court have made it clear how they feel about this tax many times before.
Furthermore, in the most recent election earlier this month, an advisory vote on the new capital gains tax on high-profit assets failed with the people of Washington again.
Washington Advisory Vote 37 was a question to voters on whether to maintain the capital gains income tax increase passed by the Legislature during the 2021 session. The answer from voters was a resounding “no,” with a vote of 61% to 39%.
Advisory votes allow voters to weigh in on taxes passed by the Legislature. Unfortunately, they are nonbinding, meaning they do not change the law. However, they are a good measure of what voters want. And it's clear the majority party is not listening to the people of Washington. It's time to stop raising taxes.
Still Working to Fix Police Reform Laws
During the 2021 legislative session, majority party Democrats passed several unbalanced and confusing police reform bills that went into effect this summer. The two most problematic bills are House Bill 1054 and House Bill 1310. Since these bills became law, we have seen numerous unfortunate incidents throughout the state. Officers are confused by these new laws and therefore unsure of how to respond in certain situations. Because of that, we have seen several offenders walk away after committing crimes and going unpunished.
Law enforcement agencies throughout the state have expressed concern regarding the increase in crime because of these new laws. Here are a few examples:
- Washington state's new laws handcuffing police will increase crime and chaos
- New restrictions on Washington state police may lead to spike in crime
- What happens when police don't show up to 911 calls
- Confusion besets new police reform laws in Washington state
- Police officers feel limited by new law enforcement reforms in Washington
These policies have created confusion and are encouraging more crime, forcing businesses to close because of rampant and emboldened theft, forcing more good officers to leave law enforcement, and making our communities and families less safe.
As a member of the public safety committee, I'm still working on fixing these disastrous defund police laws. My colleagues and I will introduce new legislation in 2022 to combat these unbalanced and poorly written laws. We need to ensure our officers and the public are safe.
Resolving the Homelessness Crisis
One of the driving forces that led me to become a state legislator was the ongoing homelessness crisis. I have seen this problem my entire life and lived it firsthand growing up on the streets of Tacoma with my mom and brother.
Since I was a kid, the government has been making empty promises to people suffering from homelessness. The problem is these promises never address the root of the problem: drug addiction, mental health, economic despair, and lack of affordable housing. Rather than addressing the root causes of homelessness, lawmakers have continued to throw money at programs that don't work.
The result is many of the same people who were on the streets living in poverty when I was homeless, are still on the streets today. Nothing has changed and too many people still don't have the support they need. We cannot continue with the same programs and services if they continue to produce the same failed results.
If communities are going to have an opportunity to thrive, we must help people facing chronic homelessness, addiction, crime, and untreated mental health needs. I lived through some of the roughest possible conditions, including violent physical assaults and having guns pointed at my face. However, thanks to my mother and the grace of God, I was able to battle my way out of these circumstances and become who I am today.
As your state representative, I promise to continue working to strengthen communities by providing appropriate resources for vital mental health services, working to end the homelessness crisis, and supporting affordable housing solutions.
Republican's “REAL” Transportation Plan
Transportation is another chronic issue in our state, with little relief and few real solutions. I have worked hard over the years for fair and equal transportation policies, including fighting toll fees that plague many of our lower income families and individuals. That's why I'm happy to announce our House Republican plan to finally offer real solutions to our state's transportation issues.
Reprioritizing Existing Appropriations for Longevity (REAL) is the House Republican Caucus' approach to sustainable and equitable transportation funding. This plan focuses on creating and maintaining a transportation system for all Washingtonians through sustainable funding.
It's time to look holistically at the state's entire budgeting process. We need to work together to find a sustainable means of transportation funding, even during challenging budget cycles. We also need to prioritize funding and policies, so the existing system is maintained and improved.
We need to honor our commitments and obligations, such as building out Connecting Washington projects and correcting fish passage barriers. We also need to provide funds to ensure an equitable transportation system for everyone in Washington state. Additionally, we cannot continue to rely so heavily on financing as a means of paying for current projects.
Lastly, we need to support economically sustainable policies that help ease the financial burdens on the taxpayers of Washington state. The REAL transportation plan will do all these things and bring real solutions that make a difference.
Cutting Property Taxes
Since the Legislature adjourned in April, state revenues for the relevant fiscal period are projected to be nearly $6 billion higher than budgeted. That doesn't even include the billions more allocated to Washington from the federal stimulus package to combat the financial impacts of COVID-19. With so much money coming in, wouldn't now be a good time to offer some tax relief to those who need it the most?
Unfortunately, those in the majority Democrat party could very well spend all that extra money by the time our next legislative session ends in March of 2022. However, this spend-it-all approach must stop. It has already caused the state operating budget to almost double in less than a decade and grow four times faster than the average worker wage.
I believe now is the time to give Washingtonians some of their hard-earned money back, by cutting their property taxes. Republicans have already introduced several bills that would give homeowners real relief and would not hurt any state-run public services.
Lowering property taxes for everyone is a no-brainer. State government has so much extra money coming in right now, which makes this the perfect time to give some of it back to the hard-working people of Washington.
Keep Up with All the “Buzz” in Olympia
The 2022 legislative session just around the corner, and there will be a lot to keep track of. Here are several links to help you keep up with the work of the Legislature:
My legislative website | Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature's website | Here you can see bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
Tracking a bill? | Click the link to find information on specific bills. In addition, when you visit my website you can easily view the legislation I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking “Sponsored Bills.”
Please Stay in Touch
It's truly my honor to serve you in Olympia. As your elected state representative, it's important to hear from you. Please reach out to me whenever you need to. I value your input because it helps me be the most effective voice in Olympia I can be. You can reach my office at (360) 786-7964 or email me at Jesse.Young@leg.wa.gov. If you'd like to share your thoughts and ideas with me in person, please contact my office to set up an appointment. I look forward to hearing from you!
In strength and honor,