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My first few weeks in Olympia have gone by quickly. Approximately 1,741 bills have been introduced in the House and Senate thus far. Along with considering, debating and discussing these bills, we are also looking at proposals for the state's 2019-20 spending plan.

It seems that with every budget cycle, the Legislature finds itself in a “shortfall” despite huge increases in revenue. The government's size, cost, and appetite for our tax dollars seem to grow larger every year. Most of the focus during the 105-day session will be on approving the state's three main spending plans: the operating, transportation and capital budgets.

As most of you are aware, the governor has called for a hefty increase in state taxes to cover a more than 22 percent increase in spending for the state's operating budget. His plan includes a state capital gains income tax, changes to the state's real estate tax, and an increase in the business and occupation taxes for many professional services.

Despite more than $4 billion in unexpected revenue this biennium, in order for the governor's budget to balance, taxpayers will need to fork over an additional $9 billion of their hard-earned dollars to the state.

We can do better. It's time to say “no” to more taxes, and “yes” to more frugal, accountable budgeting with taxpayer dollars. Please be assured, I will do everything possible to make your voices heard in Olympia on this matter.

Committee assignments

I've been assigned to four standing House committees. As a freshman legislator, it is an honor to have been assigned to Appropriationsone of the most demanding committees in the House. Not only does this committee review and approve the state's operating budget, it also considers policy bills with large budget impacts. Serving on this committee is extremely challenging because it touches a broad cross-section of topics and nearly all of the major public policy bills considered by the Legislature.

In the Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee, we look at a range of legal issues, including anti-discrimination measures, constitutional law, torts, probate, commercial law and civil commitments. And, in the Consumer Protection and Business Committee, we consider financial service matters, insurance, and consumer protection service issues.

Finally, the Education Committee continues to be in the spotlight, as we look at how to fix the remaining issues from McCleary. Despite billions of additional dollars being invested in K-12 education, many school districts are still reporting difficulties covering all their costs. During this session, I'm determined to find out why and help find a solution. We need to ensure our school districts have the resources they need to serve all their students.

Staying connected to your state government

There are several ways you can stay connected to my work for you. One of the best ways is to read my weekly legislative updates. In each update, I discuss legislative news, bills, and policy topics being considered in Olympia. If you know someone who might be interested in receiving this information, please feel free to forward them this email.

Sign up here for my email updates!

Listed below are several other helpful sites that can help you stay connected to your state government.

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.
Legislature's website | You can find bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
Capitol Campus activities and events | Find a calendar of legislative events here.
Legislative Hotline | 1-800-562-6000.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards and commissions here.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns or comments about legislation or state-government related issues. Better yet, if you are planning a visit to Olympia during the next few months, come see me. My door is always open.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in Olympia!

Sincerely,


Alex Ybarra

State Representative Alex Ybarra
13th Legislative District
RepresentativeAlexYbarra.com
469 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
alex.ybarra@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7808 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000