Dear Friends and Neighbors,
'One Washington' education plan is a great start to address McCleary decision
Washington state is anticipating nearly $3 billion in additional new revenue over the 2017-19 biennium, according to the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. This is due to continued improvement in our state's economy. That's good news for budget writers!
If the Senate Republican education proposal could be modified to be revenue neutral upon the merging of local levy dollars collected statewide and the state school levy into one line-item on your property tax bill, I may be able to support it. I believe the One Washington plan is a really great start toward putting McCleary in the rearview mirror by satisfying our constitutional duty to fund education. This is an early stage in the budget process, but never too early to hear your thoughts. Please contact me after you read the articles above and the Senate Education Plan.
Growth Management Act affects every facet of our lives. It's time for change!
I dedicated my Jan. 20 email update to the importance of reforming the state's 27-year-old Growth Management Act, and later, received very good feedback from my constituents. One reader wrote to me saying, “I began to wonder, how many people know that all this regulation is out there affecting the very homes they live in?”
Here's my response:
The Growth Management Act (GMA) has severely restricted the supply of available building lots. It's Economics 101 – Supply and Demand: land supply goes down, lot costs go up.
Affordable housing has died from a thousand regulatory cuts, including the harmful land use restrictions within the Act. After GMA, came state-mandated “Critical Areas Ordinances” on cities and counties, which further restricted land supply by creating hundreds of feet of protective buffers next to and around wetlands, streams, certain species of trees, and wildlife habitat, further reducing land supply. Then came a massive onslaught of new Department of Ecology regulations on stormwater runoff, with ridiculous new rules requiring the quality of rainwater exiting from a modern lot under development to be as clean as the water and stream flows prior to European settlement in North America. Even though that sounds crazy, it's now part of the Western Washington Stormwater Management Manual.
I could go on and on about permits, impact fees, development review costs, engineering reports, and hundreds of other regulations that have all contributed to the death of affordable housing. But I think you get the message.
No wonder we have a growing problem of homelessness in our state! GMA has contributed to higher expenses of housing, including rent. There's not one committee I attend in Olympia where the subject of homelessness doesn't come up. I wish legislators realized there's a nexus between homelessness and the lack of affordable housing caused by overregulation.
The system is broken. One party has largely controlled state government for the better part of three decades. Today we are paying the high cost of all that failed leadership! It makes me tired just thinking about the massive reform we desperately need that may only happen when the entire system collapses.
Join Rep. Vicki Kraft and me for a 'Transportation Solutions' Town Hall Meeting, Feb. 11
Please join Rep. Vicki Kraft and me Saturday, Feb. 11 for a “Transportation Solutions” Town Hall Meeting. We will be discussing the challenges and limitations of our local transportation system and seeking input from citizens about solutions on these issues. The meeting will be held 10 a.m. – noon at Clark College's East Campus third floor, 18700 S.E. Mill Plain Boulevard in Vancouver. For further details, including information on other speakers, please read our press release. We hope to see you there!
"Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"