Rep. Liz Pike statement on completion of 176-day continual legislative session
The Washington State Legislature finished its business early Friday afternoon and adjourned sine die after a 103-day regular session and three special sessions totaling 73 days, breaking the record for the longest continual session in state history.
Following adjournment, Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, issued this statement:
“I'm relieved we finally finished our business after nearly six months in session. It took longer than it should have, but standing firm through three special sessions in order to vote in favor of a two-year state operating budget that contained no major tax increases was the right thing to do. Eighteenth District residents repeatedly tell me they want state government to live within their means. I agree with them.
“I am also very grateful to my family and my constituents for their patience and support. It is always difficult to be far away from the people you love in a normal 105-day session, but due to the length and uncertainty of this session, 2015 was challenging.
“I was proud to support the operating budget because it makes an historic 19 percent increase in education funding, lowers college tuition by an average of 15 percent and strengthens mental health services across the state. I'm pleased to support a budget that fully funds public education, protects our most vulnerable, and keeps our community safe — all without taking more money from Washington's working families.
“I wish I could say the same for transportation. I voted against the largest gas tax in Washington state history and its related legislation because bonding against a declining revenue source, such as our gas tax, is fundamentally the wrong approach to paying for state highways. Together with the state of Pennsylvania, we now have the highest gas tax in the nation.
“Some of the bonds on the 2003 nickel gas tax and the 9.5-cent gas tax approved by the Legislature in 2005 will not be paid in full for another 20 or more years. Now we are adding an additional 11.9-cent per gallon gas tax with projects bonded as much as 40 years. That could potentially force Washington families to pay as much as two-thirds of every gas tax dollar for bond payments. I would never run my own household budget or my own private business budget like this. It is irresponsible.
“As a member of House Transportation Committee, I've been advocating for a 'Dave Ramsey' approach to fund transportation — which means we should prioritize state projects and pay mostly cash with only a small amount of bonding.
“I also opposed this legislation because it raises fees on trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or more by a whopping 15 percent. This will increase the cost of every commodity on our retail store shelves. Plus, Washington drivers will be paying considerably more in car tab fees.
“This proposal also has far too much transit money in it to serve less than 4 percent of the public who uses this transportation mode. The amount spent must reflect the mode of travel our residents choose. Light rail is a political ideology, not a transportation solution, and has little effect against relieving our growing transportation congestion. We need bold transportation solutions that improve freight mobility, reduce traffic congestion, and change how we pay for transportation. And we need real reforms that ensure our citizens get the most mileage out of their transportation dollars.”
###Washington State House Republican Communications