*JOIN ME AND REP. LARRY CROUSE TOMORROW EVENING AT 6:50 P.M. FOR A TELEPHONE TOWN HALL MEETING. DETAILS ARE BELOW.*
I have been fighting hard to uphold the will of the people and protect Initiative 960 from a vicious attack Democrats in the Legislature have launched against it. The provisions of I-960, which was approved by voters in November 2007, require the Legislature have a two-thirds approval to raise taxes. As I explained in an e-mail update last week, Democrats have introduced Senate Bill 6130, a measure which would gut the initiative and clear the way so that they can raise taxes and take more of your hard-earned money.
THE FIGHT TO UPHOLD THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE
Last Tuesday, my fellow House Republicans and I held a filibuster on the floor of the House, arguing for seven hours that SB 6130 should be set aside indefinitely. On Wednesday, we took up debate again, using parliamentary rules and procedures in an attempt to kill the bill. We were on the floor during Wednesday morning and then again, Wednesday evening, attempting to stop the gutting of I-960. Unfortunately, Democrats prevailed, passing SB 6130 with a vote of 51-47. The measure goes back to the Senate for final approval before going to the governor for her signature.
TAX INCREASES ARE NEXT
If the governor signs SB 6130 as expected, it will open the floodgates for millions of dollars in tax increases. On Wednesday, the governor released her plan to TAKE MORE OF YOUR MONEY! From kids to cows, her tax proposal includes:
- Repealing a B&O tax credit on syrup
- Adding to up to 6 cents a gallon to the price of fuel at the pump
- A new 1-cent-per ounce tax on bottled water
- A new tax on carbonated beverages (5 cents per 12 ounces)
- Imposing the sales tax on (non-floured) candy and gum
- Increasing taxes for livestock nutrient management (livestock manure clean-up)
And there are 77 new tax and fee bills waiting in the wings, including an income tax and sales tax increase, which will send many of our border businesses packing for Idaho.
I will continue to strongly oppose these tax increases. But my one vote cannot stop this runaway tax-and-spend train. Neither will the votes of my Republican colleagues. That's why the Democrat majority voted to suspend I-960 – to clear us from the tracks so they can increase taxes. The only way to stop this is for citizens to act NOW!
I urge you – call the numbers below. Flood the lines and tell our state leaders, “NO TAX INCREASES!”
- Governor – (360) 902-4111
- Senate majority leader – (360) 786-7604
- House speaker – (360) 786-7920
- Toll-free legislative hotline – 1-800-562-6000
BILL CHANGES WELFARE FROM A SAFETY NET TO A HAMMOCK
The “Welfare to Work” program adopted in 1997 has been very successful in getting people off the welfare roll and having them be contributing members of society. A measure which passed the House on Feb. 13 would change welfare from a “safety net” back to a “hammock,” unraveling much of the accountability methods that were included in the original welfare reform legislation. I'm very concerned that House Bill 3141 sets up our state for massive spending increases.
LOCAL TEEN HELPS IN THE HOUSE
I want to thank Whitney Marshall of Otis Orchards for all of her help here in the House of Representatives last week. Whitney, who is homeschooled, served as a legislative page in the House. I had the honor of sponsoring her.
She was responsible for delivering messages and documents to legislators in their offices, committee meetings and the House chamber during floor sessions. Whitney also continued her studies for two hours during the day in the legislative page school.
To become a page, applicants must have a legislative sponsor and be between the ages of 14 and 16. Additionally, pages are required to hold a grade-point average of C+ or better, and obtain written permission from their parents and school.
If you know of a young person who would be interested in becoming involved as a page, please have him or her call my office. Click here for more information on the page program.
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR A TELEPHONE TOWN HALL!
Now that we are heading into the last three weeks of the 60-day legislative session, it is vital that I hear from you. That's why my fellow seatmate, 4th District Rep. Larry Crouse and I are holding a town hall meeting over the telephone this coming Tuesday evening, Feb. 23, at 6:50 p.m. We'll be making calls to citizens throughout the district, but I also invite you to call in and join us on our one-hour “community conversation” program.
The teleconference is held much like a radio call-in program, in which we will be taking calls and answering questions from constituents. You're welcome to listen throughout the hour and at any point that you wish to ask a question, just press *3 (Star 3) on your telephone keypad. An operator will assist in connecting you to us.
If you would like to dial in between 6:50 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. Tuesday, here's the number: 1-877-229-8493. When prompted, enter PIN number 15550. (Click here to get more information about our telephone town hall meeting)
I hope to talk with you then.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve and represent you!