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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

House Democrats and Senate Republicans have now released their operating budget proposals, and while there are some similarities, there are quite a few differences as well.

Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, speaks on the House floor in opposition to ESHB 1106, the House Democrats' operating budget proposal.The House Democrats' budget proposal incorporates $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes to increase state spending by 15 percent – from $33.8 billion to $38.9 billion. At a time when we have $3 billion in additional revenue for the 2015-17 biennium, raising taxes should be the last resort, not the first option. A new capital gains tax, an increase in the B&O tax on service businesses, and a variety of other taxes proposed in their budget would all serve to hurt our economic recovery.

I am also disappointed the House Democrats' budget settles for freezing tuition, rather than reducing it. I spoke about the budget's impact on higher education last week on the House floor. To view my remarks, click here.

The Senate Republicans' budget, while not perfect, provides a much better starting point for budget discussions. Their proposal fully funds K-12 education, reduces tuition by 25 percent, protects the most vulnerable, and gives teachers a cost of living increase – all without raising taxes on hard-working Washingtonians.

Here is a breakdown of both budget proposals:

House Democrats' proposal

  • $39 billion total spending
  • $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes
  • Freezes tuition for higher education
  • $1.4 billion for education spending to meet basic education requirements
  • Includes cost-of-living adjustments for state and school employees

Senate Republicans' proposal

  • $38 billion total spending
  • No new tax increases
  • Cuts tuition costs for higher education
  • $1.3 billion for education spending to meet basic education requirements
  • Includes cost-of-living adjustments for state and school employees

The Senate Republicans' budget shows we can fund our most important priorities without raising taxes. I'm looking forward to negotiations beginning between the two chambers and finishing our work on time by April 26. For more of my thoughts on the budget, check out the video update I recorded on Friday.

Hosting Pierce County royalty at the Capitol

I had the privilege of meeting with Miss Pierce County Anikka Abbott, Miss PierceRep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, with Miss Pierce County Anikka Abbott (L) and Miss Pierce County's Outstanding Teen Carissa Wagner (R) County's Outstanding Teen Carissa Wagner, and the 2015 Daffodil Festival Royal Court at the Capitol this week.

Every year in September, 24 participating high schools around Pierce County start the selection process to choose their princess representative for The Daffodil Festival. These ladies serve as ambassadors of Pierce County, and I had the honor of introducing them to both Republican and Democrat caucuses, and to Secretary of State Kim Wyman. They also had the opportunity to meet with Gov. Inslee in his office.

The day concluded with a 'Legislator Lunch', where the royalty met with legislators that represent them here in Olympia.

The 2015 Daffodil Festival Royal Court at the Capitol

Recent community events in the 25th

Rep. Melanie Stambaugh at a town hall meeting held at the Summit LibraryRep. Zeiger and I had our third town hall of the session at the Summit Library last weekend.

There were dynamic discussions about the proposed House and Senate budgets, our local transportation infrastructure, changes in our education structure, and concerns regarding the availability of water this summer.

I want to thank the individuals in attendance who provided great perspectives regarding the direction they desire the Legislature to go in the last weeks of session.

Contacting me

I encourage you to reach out to me with any comments, questions or concerns in these last 19 days of the 105-day legislative session. You can email me at melanie.stambaugh@leg.wa.gov or call me at (360) 786-7948.

It is an honor to serve you in the state House of Representatives.

Sincerely,

Melanie Stambaugh

State Representative Melanie Stambaugh, 25th Legislative District
RepresentativeMelanieStambaugh.com
122E Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
melanie.stambaugh@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7948 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000