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  • July 2, 2015

    Dear Governor Inslee,

    I have an important question for you:  Who really governs this state – the elected Governor, or the powerful WEA union?  Your answer could end the budget chaos created by Democrats yesterday.

    The 2015 legislative session accomplished what was needed for the people of Washington State.  Led by Senate Republicans, the bipartisan budget accomplished historic reductions in college tuition, spending priorities for K-12 education and early learning, reduced class sizes, and COLAs for our teachers for the first time in
    6 years – all this, without increasing taxes on our citizens.  This balanced
    budget passed by wide margins in both chambers and you signed it late on June
    30th, just in time to avert a government shutdown.

     

    However, while our party is celebrating “job well done,” your party has a mess on its hands following the Senate Democrats’ early morning sabotage of the budget YOU signed.  While our party accomplished college tuition reductions, your party has put
    those historic reductions in jeopardy.  While our party passed a balanced budget, your party unbalanced the budget.   This outrageous mess is a result of your party’s fealty to the WEA! 

    Republicans delivered on their promises.  As the 4th of July weekend nears, the Republicans rest assured that they have finished their job.  Significantly, your party is not done yet.  Republicans are known for fixing problems but we cannot fix your party!  Now it’s in your hands to end your intra-party squabbles and bring this legislative session to a conclusion.  Are you the leader of your party and the leader of this state or not?  You are the Governor, and it is time for you to govern.  We say sincerely… good luck.

    Respectfully,

    Susan Hutchison

    Chairman, Washington State Republican Party


  • From Susan Hutchinson, WSRP Chairman:

    Read this about the dirty tricks and double-crossing by Governor Inslee’s Democrats — here’s someone who was there in the Senate gallery.  State Representative Matt Manweller (R) of Ellensburg posted the following on his Facebook page this morning:

    “I have some very unfortunate news regarding this year’s session. Due to a combination of immaturity, too much alcohol, and a lack of respect for the process and keeping your word, The Senate Democrats went back on their word and blew up all three budgets — operating, capital, and transportation. We have enough money in the signed operating budget to keep the government open until September. After that we’re not sure what will happen.

    “I know people see a lot of partisan posts on Facebook full of hyperbole but I can tell you that last night’s behavior by the Senate Democrats was the most disgraceful I have seen in 20 years of politics.

    “For all you teachers out there that think the Democrats are your friends, they just sabotaged the 3 raises we were going to give you. They also sabotaged the $100 million we were going to give the Central Washington University and they have almost destroyed the tuition cut we were going to give all the parents.

    “No matter how long I serve, I will never forget the scene last night of inebriated Democrats laughing about about how they had screwed everyone including their House Democratic friends and thinking it was funny.”


  • Are Inslee’s Democrats liars, sore losers, or just so corrupt, they don’t care?

    Here’s what’s they’ve done:  In the wee hours of this morning, Senate
    Democrats double-crossed their colleagues, insulted the House of
    Representatives and defied the citizens of Washington, by blowing up the
    agreement they had made to pass a state budget.

    Why would they do such a thing?  Because Democrats are bought and paid for
    by the WEA, the Washington Extortion (uh, Education) Association.  With
    money they take from every teacher’s paycheck, the WEA buys the election of
    left-wing Democrats to push their left-wing agenda–which has NEVER been about
    giving our kids a good education!

    Despite  a huge spending increase in the new budget including the highest
    increase for education in state history, the WEA is furious because the budget
    did not require NEW (unnecessary) taxes!  (The WEA and the Democrats are
    fixated on forcing a state income tax on the people of Washington.)

    So, early this morning, the Democrats blew a $2 billion hole in the state
    budget by changing their votes on the agreement they negotiated last
    weekend.  We ask, were they lying in those negotiations and as they
    boasted about the budget they passed? Or is this what sore losers do, when
    reality sets in and they realize the budget is good for the people but not for
    the Democrats? Or are they so corrupted by the WEA’s money that they will do
    anything to stay in the WEA’s favor?

    This last minute dirty trick jeopardizes the historic tuition cuts which
    Republicans won for students and families.  And it may block new funding
    for K-12 and our youngest learners.

    At its core, this is the result of a colossal failure of leadership.  Jay
    Inslee, the Governor who just can’t govern, presides over this mess.  It’s
    a hell of way to govern, Mr. Inslee.

    Respectfully,

    Susan Hutchison

    Chairman, Washington State Republican Party


  • <<<IMPORTANT NOTE:  I wrote the following e-update on Tuesday evening with the expectation that the legislative session would end a few hours later with the final passage of a needed bill to ensure the state has a balanced budget.  Unfortunately, an agreement on the bill broke down and to my great, great frustration the legislature is still in session.  You can read more about the disputed issue here>>>

    Greetings!

    After 169 hard-fought days between the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-controlled House and governor’s mansion, the Washington Legislature just concluded its 2015 legislative session – with huge impact on Eastern Washington.  Here is my quick summary of the Great, the Good and the UGLY of what just happened.

    The Great: Huge wins for Eastern Washington

    • A historic REDUCTION in tuition      costs for college students.       Because of our Senate plan, college students will benefit from an average      $1,500 DECREASE in the price of going to college over the next two      years.   Tuition at WSU will drop from $10,336 to $8,785      and at EWU from $6,491 to $5,193.  This is a historic first, and it      was a major sticking point in the budget battle with the House.  We      also took steps to ensure the universities DO NOT cut enrollment slots for      in-state students.  I’ve been fighting this battle for five      years. The vote for this tuition reduction Monday was a win for college      students and for every family who has struggled with skyrocketing tuition      and debt loads. You can read more about it here.

     

    • A new WSU medical school in      Spokane, named for Elson Floyd, AND expanded medical education      through the University of Washington. The operating-budget battle yielded huge wins for      medical education in our state and in building the biomedical economy in      Spokane.  The nearly 100-year-old one-school monopoly on medical      education in our state was broken. Spokane is set to receive a record      amount of funding for medical education for both WSU and UW. Spokane      is now on a trajectory to educate as many medical students as Seattle      within four years.  The amazing man who made all this happen, WSU      President Elson Floyd, tragically died from colon cancer last      week, the Resolution I sponsored to honor President Floyd and      name the school after him received overwhelming support in the      Senate. We did it, Elson – Go Cougs!

     

    • Funding to FINALLY COMPLETE the      North-South Freeway.       Spokane and Eastern Washington were huge winners in the transportation      package, with more than $1 billion in new projects coming to our      region. Spokane has talked about completing the North South Freeway      for 60 years. I was adamant that if the people from King County were going      to pass a new tax, we would finally get it done.  We won.  The      North-South Freeway alone will receive nearly $900 million to connect it      to I-90, and Spokane will be a net gainer in gas-tax revenue. In our      last transportation package in 2005, Spokane received only $150 million,      pennies for every dollar in gas-tax money we sent to the state.  WITH      THIS TRANSPORTATION PACKAGE, Western Washington WILL FINALLY PAY FOR      PROJECTS IN EASTERN WASHINGTON AND SPOKANE.  It’s been the other way      for far too long. It’s about time we finally got (more than) our fair      share!

    The Good: Stopping Gov. Inslee’s extreme agenda

    • Our transportation package      effectively blocked Gov. Jay Inslee’s ability to implement a low-carbon      fuel mandate that would have raised your gas prices by as much as $1 a      gallon.  Gov.      Inslee entered the legislative session threatening to implement an extreme      California-style environmental mandate that would raise the price of fuel      and give government bureaucrats more power over the cars we drive.       We made sure the transportation package contained a “poison pill” that      effectively blocks Inslee from doing this.  If Inslee had won, you      would have seen an increase at the pump of as much as $1 a gallon, yet you      would not have received any new roads for it. This may sound like      inside-Olympia politics, but it is a big deal.  You can read more      about it here.

     

    • The operational budget stopped      a new capital gains tax.  The      primary reason Washington was brought to the brink of a government      shutdown was the Democrats’ insistence that we create a new capital gains      tax that would significantly impact small business in our state.  We      stood firm against this new tax and eventually we won.  You can read      more here.

     

    • Every teacher and state      employee received a 5 percent pay increase without implementing new taxes      on the general public.  Amid      the political fighting this year a great deal of misinformation was      circulated – much of it deliberately, by special interest groups. Yet      teachers and state employees were always going to receive substantial pay      raises in the final budget agreement. The budget gives teachers a 5      percent pay increase, in addition to any local school district pay      increases or step salary increases. State employees will receiving a      5 percent increase. Likewise, state employees will also be receiving a 5%      pay increase.

     

    • The budget provides enough      money to reduce the size of every kindergarten-through-3rd- grade      class in the state. Our      final agreement provides $1.3 billion in new funding to reduce K-3 class      sizes to 17 students per class over the next four years.  (Note —      under state law the Legislature only allocates money to school districts      — we don’t actually decide how it’s spent.  Local school boards      decided whether to use this money to reduce class sizes or negotiate it      away for higher pay and benefits in contracts with local unions.)
    • Stopping      an increase in the minimum wage.       Our state already has the highest minimum wage in the country and      increasing it further could be devastating for small business and      employment rates in border counties.  As Chair of the Senate Commerce      & Labor committee, I’m proud to have stopped this bill. You can read      more about it here.
    • Funding to protect Fairchild      Air force Base and expand Mt. Spokane Ski Lodge. In the capital budget we successfully fought for      funding to protect the Fairchild Air Force base from encroachment and      several million in funding to expand Mt Spokane; including expanding road      access, Nordic area and the ski lodge.

    The Ugly: A 13 percent increase in government spending and a 12-cent increase in the gas tax

    • The operating budget increased      from $33.6 billion to $38.2 billion –  a 13 percent increase.  It’s somewhat mindboggling that we fought 168 days with      the House Democrats just to keep it to this level. They initially demanded      a 15 percent increase.  Although the budget agreement is      balanced over 4 years and does not include tax increases for general      government operations, this spending level at best strains the limits of      fiscal responsibility.  Unfortunately, the many special interest      groups in Olympia make it very difficult for some legislators to say no to      more spending.   A more fiscally responsible approach would have      been to grow the budget at the rate of population plus inflation growth,      about 6 percent.  If a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate      had been required in order to raise taxes, the operating budget would have      been more responsible.  Washington voters have supported this      requirement five times. Unfortunately our left-wing state Supreme Court      ruled this requirement unconstitutional in 2013, and my effort this      session to enact a similar two-thirds requirement in Senate rules was erroneously      rejected by our current lieutenant governor.

     

    The final 2015-2017 operational budget agreement grows the size of government 13%

    • The new transportation package      increases fuel taxes by 12 cents a gallon.  This increase gives Washington the highest gas tax in      the country.  Why did I support it? Our state’s transportation system      is a mess.  Years of mismanagement have left Washington with a huge      need for new roads and a real lack of funding for on-going      maintenance.  We need more roads, and there is simply no other way to      pay for them.  The massive and growing traffic gridlock in King      County made a new transportation package inevitable. In crafting it the      way we did, we allowed the 21 Senate Republicans who supported it to drive      the transportation negotiations. We protected taxpayers from Gov. Inslee’s      low carbon fuel standards leveraged a much better deal for the state –      particularly for Eastern Washington.  In fact, a leading House      Democrat complained during our transportation negotiations that the result      wasn’t fair,  “because it looks like a package written for Eastern      Washington.” I think that’s true.  The reforms we put into the      agreement will also substantially reduce how much it costs to build roads      in Washington.  You can read more about these reforms here.

     

    • The 168-day session took WAY      too long.  Unlike Republicans and      Democrats in the “other Washington,” we eventually were able to cooperate      and come together with a balanced budget and some great legislation – but      it took way, way too long.  The session was supposed to last 105      days. It went 63 days over. A session this long and a threat of a      government shutdown is a burden to the general public and to our PART-TIME      citizen legislators who make $42,000 a year for this job.  Now that      we’re finally finished, I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to      NOT having to drive across the state again anytime in the near      future.  I’m also looking forward to playing with my kids and mowing      my lawn… LOL.

    Have a great summer everybody,

    Mike

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