Kristiansen E-mail Update: This Memorial Day, don’t forget the vets!

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Memorial Day weekend is generally considered the unofficial beginning of summer. If the weather is nice, you'll find many people camping or having backyard barbecues. A lot of families will get together to enjoy each other's company, head to the beach, or stay home and watch the Indianapolis 500 race.

As we enjoy these freedoms, I would also like to offer an important reminder: Remember those who served our country and sacrificed their lives to make these things possible!

American soldiers have always answered the call, no matter what the price, fighting in the most unimaginable conditions to protect and preserve what we cherish most about our nation -- freedom.

From our founding revolution to today’s global war on terrorism, nearly one million men and women in the Armed Forces have sacrificed their lives while defending America in time of war. They gave their lives, because they understood their country's future rested upon achieving victory. We owe them and their families an enormous debt of support, respect and gratitude for their service to our nation. Their dedication and sacrifices have preserved our ability to live, work and raise our families in a free nation.

Our surviving veterans who did return home remain humble and stoic about their service. They insist that the gratitude truly belongs not to them, but to their fallen comrades who paid the ultimate price. One of the best ways to thank them is to honor their fellow soldiers who died in the line of duty, to care for their wounded brothers and sisters, and to safeguard their families.

Long after the battlefield guns have silenced and the bombs stop exploding, children of our fallen warriors will be missing a parent. Spouses will be without their life partners. Parents will continue to grieve for their heroic sons and daughters who died way too soon. Nearly 700,000 veterans live in Washington state. Chances are, you know a veteran or their family members. Please make the effort to thank them for their service, offer whatever assistance they need, show your appreciation, and give them assurance that their loved one's sacrifice will not be forgotten.

As we begin this Memorial Day weekend, please remember that all the activities you, your families and your neighbors do were made possible because of our veterans.

As President Reagan once said, "Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands, is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom’s front. And we thank God for them."

In your service,

Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: Special session and bills good for business | May 6, 2015

SPECIAL TO OUR CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Last Wednesday, April 29, legislators were called back to Olympia into special session to complete the unfinished work of negotiating and passing a two-year state operating budget for the 2015-17 fiscal cycle. Lawmakers passed several bills on Wednesday and Rep. Dan Kristiansenthen were released into what is known as a "rolling session." This means that we essentially "roll" from one floor session to the next each day, but lawmakers are not on the floor. They've gone home while budget negotiators meet in Olympia to try to find agreement on the three budgets: operating, capital and transportation.

If and when agreements are reached on either the budgets or legislation that enable passage of the budgets, lawmakers will be called back to Olympia to take votes on the House floor. The Senate is also in the same type of rolling session.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm very disappointed the Legislature did not finish its business within the allotted 105-day session. The primary reason we are in a special session is because Democrats and the governor insist on raising taxes by as much as $1.5 billion, even though the state is bringing in an additional $3 billion -- nearly a nine percent increase in revenue -- and a record increase for the state -- because of an improved economy in the Puget Sound region.

A large portion of the Democrats' tax increase proposal is targeted against employers. They want to increase the business and occupation taxes on service businesses and travel agents by 1.8 percent. This would especially hurt our local small businesses and increase unemployment across the state.

As I explained to Austin Jenkins on TVW's Inside Olympia program last week, many of the other counties outside of Puget Sound still have high unemployment. People cannot afford tax increases. The Legislature doesn't need to make this problem worse!

Let's also make this point very clear. With a nine percent increase in revenue, we don't need tax increases to balance the state budget. It's a matter of setting priorities -- needs versus wants. Both budgets direct nearly a billion-and-a-half additional dollars toward K-12 education, which should satisfy the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision requirements.

Special sessions last 30 days. It's my hope budget negotiators will finish their business sooner than later and provide a compromise agreement that can gain a majority of votes in the House and Senate before the end of the special session.

I invite you to watch my TWV interview here for a more detailed explanation of why we are in a special session and what needs to be done at this point.

Aside from the budgets, we did accomplish many things during the 2015 regular session. Many bills are now going to the governor after being passed during the regular session. Below, I would like to highlight four good business bills of interest that won legislative approval and will soon become law.

Contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!.

In your service,

Dan

Good for business bills
More than 2,400 bills were introduced in the Legislature during the 2015 regular session. Of those, 309 passed both the House and Senate and were sent to the governor. The following are four of those bills that will be good for business and good for Washington:

  • House Bill 1043 - Self-storage facilities: This bill lets owners of storageStorage units units send email notifications to renters of storage units when they’re behind on their storage payments by 14 or more days. In this age of text messages and email, relying on regular mail could be an obsolete strategy for many who are on the move or relocating. This bill would be helpful to both the owner and occupant as a good alternative to the postal service. Email notice may be used if the occupant expressly agrees to it; the rental agreement specifies in bold type that notices are given by email; the owner provides an email address from which notices are sent and directs the occupant to modify his/her email settings to allow email from that address; and the owner notifies occupants of any change in the email address prior to that change. Signed by the governor April 17.
  • House Bill 1749 - Contractor registration: This bill will make it easier for homeowners to make improvements to their property for the purpose of selling it. The measure ends the requirement for homeowners working on their house to register with Labor and Industries as a contractor in order to “flip” it. No longer will homeowners have to worry about steep fines for failing to register as a contractor. Signed by the governor April 22. Read more about this bill here.
  • House Bill 2040 - Increasing veteran employment: This bill is aimed atHire a vet starting a campaign for businesses to increase the number of veterans employed around the state. Known as the "One business, one vet" bill, the measure will partner the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), Employment Security Department, and the Department of Commerce with local chambers of commerce, associate development organizations and businesses to initiate a demonstration campaign to increase veteran employment. Signed by the governor April 22. Read more about this bill here.
  • Senate Bill 5510 - Simplifying calculation of worker compensation benefits: This bill requires the Department of Labor to convene an industrial insurance benefit accuracy working group by Aug. 1 to work on improving the accuracy, simplicity, fairness and consistency of calculating worker compensation benefits. The intent is to reduce confusion among employers and increase accuracy. This bill has been delivered to the governor.

Contact my office for more information on these, other business-related bills, or any legislation.

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: Rolling through a special session| May 5, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Last Wednesday, April 29, legislators were called back to Olympia into special session to complete the unfinished work of negotiating and passing a two-year state operating budget for the 2015-17 fiscal cycle. Lawmakers passed several bills on Wednesday and Rep. Dan Kristiansenthen were released into what is known as a "rolling session." This means that we essentially "roll" from one floor session to the next each day, but lawmakers are not on the floor. They've gone home while budget negotiators meet in Olympia to try to find agreement on the three budgets: operating, capital and transportation.

If and when agreements are reached on either the budgets or legislation that enable passage of the budgets, lawmakers will be called back to Olympia to take votes on the House floor. The Senate is also in the same type of rolling session.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm very disappointed the Legislature did not finish its business within the allotted 105-day session. The primary reason we are in a special session is because Democrats and the governor insist on raising taxes by as much as $1.5 billion, even though the state is bringing in an additional $3 billion -- nearly a nine percent increase in revenue -- and a record increase for the state -- because of an improved economy in the Puget Sound region. But as I explained to Austin Jenkins on TVW's Inside Olympia program last week, many of the other counties outside of Puget Sound still have high unemployment. People cannot afford tax increases.

Let's also make this point very clear. With a nine percent increase in revenue, we don't need tax increases to balance the state budget. It's a matter of setting priorities -- needs versus wants. Both budgets direct nearly a billion-and-a-half additional dollars toward K-12 education, which should satisfy the state Supreme Court's McCleary decision requirements.

Special sessions last 30 days. It's my hope budget negotiators will finish their business sooner than later and provide a compromise agreement that can gain a majority of votes in the House and Senate before the end of the special session.

I invite you to watch my TWV interview here for a more detailed explanation of why we are in a special session and what needs to be done at this point.

Aside from the budgets, we did accomplish many things during the 2015 regular session. Many bills are now going to the governor after being passed during the regular session. Below, I would like to highlight four bills of interest that won legislative approval, have been signed by the governor, and will soon become law.

Contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!.

In your service,

Dan

Top four bills of interest becoming law
More than 2,400 bills were introduced in the Legislature during the 2015 regular session. Of those, 309 passed both the House and Senate and were sent to the governor for his signature. While every bill is important to someone, here is my top four picks of measures of interest to our local area:

  • House Bill 1052 - Requiring institutions of higher education to make an early registration process available to spouses and domestic partners of active military members.
    This is a bill suggested by Christian Arciniega of Granite Falls, whose husband, Andres, is in the National Guard. Under this measure, beginning in the 2015-16 academic year, institutions of higher education that offer any early course registration to students must have a process in place to offer early course registration to students who are the spouses of eligible veterans or National Guard members who are receiving veteran's education benefits. Often, husbands and wives are at the mercy of their spouses' deployment schedule. This bill ensures they receive priority registration at our colleges and universities and furthers their ability to graduate on time. Signed by the governor on April 17. Read more about this bill here.
  • House Bill 1282 - Addressing the crime of driving while license suspended where the suspension is based on noncompliance with a child support order. The Department of Social and Health Services can have a parent's driver's license suspended if that parent is six months or more behind in child support. This measure creates a misdemeanor crime in the third degree of "driving while license suspended or revoked" based on failure to be in compliance with a child support order. The suspension is lifted once the obligation has been fulfilled. Signed by the governor on May 1.
  • House Bill 1285 - Requiring all newborns in Washington to be screened for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) using pulse oximetry. CCHD affects nearly 1 in 100 infants. Early detection and intervention is critical for a good health outcome for these infants. Signed by the governor on April 21.
  • House Bill 2181 - Modifying the maximum speed limit on highways. Current state law generally sets the maximum speed limit for city and town streets at 25 miles per hour, county roads at 50 miles per hour, and state highways at 60 miles per hour. The state transportation secretary may decrease or increase the maximum speed on any segment of a highway, based on engineering and traffic studies that place a high value on safety.  However, the maximum speed limit for any highway under current law is 70 miles per hour. Under House Bill 2181, the maximum speed limit could be raised up to 75 miles per hour. Signed by the governor on April 22 with a partial veto. Read more about this bill here.

Arlington student helps in the HouseRep. Dan Kristiansen with legislative page Luke Jankovic
It was my honor to sponsor Luke Jankovic as a page in the House of Representatives. Luke is a freshman at Arlington High School and he's active in high school band and spring basketball.

Paging presents students with a unique educational opportunity to participate in the legislative process Their duties vary from ceremonial tasks, such as presenting the flags, to operational chores like distributing amendments during legislative sessions.

It was obvious Luke really enjoyed his time here. He seemed to be captivated by the legislative process and it was fun watching his interest.

Go here for more information about Luke and how to become involved in the House page program.

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: Governor forces special session | April 24, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

This Sunday, April 26, is the final day of the 105-day regular session. I had hoped to tell you this is the final week, that budgets are ready for adoption and that the Legislature will soon be finished. Instead, we are facing a different reality.

The Legislature has decided to adjourn sine die at the end of the day today. Gov. InsleeGov. Jay Inslee demands tax increases has called a special session, beginning next Wednesday, April 29. The reason we are going into a special session is because Gov. Inslee insists on raising taxes even though the state is getting a record $3 billion (9 percent raise) in additional revenue without tax increases.

It is a complete reversal from candidate Jay Inslee, who told several news outlets, including Crosscut on Nov. 14, 2012 that: "the Legislature can raise money to meet a Washington Supreme Court mandate to increase school funding by creating enough new jobs to generate more state revenue — and without raising taxes. 'I think economic growth is the best way forward,' Inslee said."

Many times, I've said job creation is the best way to bring more revenue to the state -- NOT tax increases. We've got an additional $3 billion coming to the state because of economic growth. Tax increases will stifle that growth.

Here's the other hang-up that has forced the Legislature into a special session: House Rep. Dan Kristiansen with House Speaker Frank Chopp and Senate Majority Leader Mark SchoeslerDemocrats have passed an operating budget that would rely on $1.5 billion dollars in new and increased taxes, including a capital gains income tax and a B&O tax. They sent that budget over to the Senate. However, they have not pulled out their tax package for a vote, even though their budget relies on those taxes. Senate Republicans, who also passed their version of an operating budget that does not rely on tax increases, say they cannot negotiate on the House Democratic budget until the Democrats pass their tax package. Otherwise, they say it is a hollow budget and they would be negotiating against themselves. House Democrats say the Senate won’t approve the tax increases, so why pull it up to take the hard votes?

Please read on for more information about my views on the teacher walkouts.

Contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!.

In your service,

Dan

What the teachers are saying. . .
These are messages sent to my office this week from teachers and school employees. Please take my survey and provide your own comments!

"As a public school employee, I urge you to raise new revenue so we can fully fund education and protect the social and health services our students need. Our current tax system is unfair and inadequate. The House's proposed tax on capital gains is a good step forward, but I also support other sources of new revenue, including a tax on big polluters and closing unfair corporate tax loopholes."
Robyn

"If the Legislature can find a way to approve a record-setting $8.7 billion tax break for Boeing, you can find a way to fund the smaller class sizes our kids need and deserve."
Patricia

"Until YOU do my job, don't sit there on your high horse and surmise that me, a lowly teacher, is overpaid and under worked!  Listen to the people that elected you and do what is right: LOWER CLASS SIZE K-12 and pay a competitive salary to the educators of this state!"
Anita

2014-15 AVERAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT PERSONNEL SALARIES (includes insurance and mandatory benefits):

Arlington - $98,700
Monroe - $93,657
Granite Falls - $91,572
Sedro-Woolley - $82,359
Source: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)

Teacher strikes: How much is enough?

I am deeply disappointed that teachers in numerous school districts have chosen to walk out of their classrooms this week and to hold a one-day strike to protest the Senate Republican operating budget proposal. I expressed that disappointment in a prepared statement this past weekend.

It raises the question, "How much is enough?"

Overview of Senate budget for K-12 education:

  • $2.7 billion biennial increase (from $15.3 billion to $18 billion);
  • $1.3 billion policy adds ($740 million for maintenance, supplies and operating costs; $350 million for K-3 class-size reduction; and $190 million for all-day kindergarten);
  • $230 million for K-12 salary increases;
  • $210 million for increased pension costs;
  • The bipartisan capital budget would build 2,100 more classrooms to reduce K-3 class size. Class size in upper grades is maintained at current levels, NOT made more crowded;
  • 17.8 percent increase in state appropriations (versus less than 6 percent increase for other non-education portions of the state budget);
  • This is the largest K-12 biennial percentage growth in more than 25 years; and
  • K-12 funding under this proposal would take up 47 percent of the state budget - the highest since Gov. Spellman was in office more than 30 years ago.

In its editorial Monday, The Seattle Times said "Instead of striking, teachers across Washington state should be celebrating."

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: What I am doing for you in Olympia| April 15, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Only 11 days remain of the 105-day regular legislative session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 26. Both the House and Senate have rolled out their respective proposals for the operating, capital and transportation budgets. All have passed their respective chambers. Negotiations on each of these important budget items are ongoing.

Last week in my e-newsletter, I gave you a glimpse of the differences between the proposed House and Senate operating budgets. Since then, our staff has worked up an even better and more accurate comparison, which you can see here. . .

House-SenateBudgetDetailedChart

Since today is April 15, "tax day," it is appropriate to talk about taxes and what I'm trying to do to keep more money in your pockets. As I mentioned in this e-newsletter last week, Washington is getting a record increase of tax revenue -- an additional $3 billion under our current system. And that's without tax increases. We don't need to raise taxes as the Democrats have proposed. We simply should prioritize between our "needs" and our "wants." That means making some difficult, but reasonable decisions among the two parties' budget writers in the House and Senate who have proposed competing operating budget proposals. As the leader of the House Republican Caucus, I am working to bring all sides together to negotiate an operating budget proposal that is sustainable and fiscally responsible for the state of Washington.

Last month, in both The Arlington Times and The Marysville Globe, an article was published entitled, "This is what your lawmakers are doing in Marysville and Arlington." It listed the number of bills sponsored by local lawmakers and a brief description of some of those measures. It also said "Rep. Dan Kristianson has sponsored 0 (zero) bills."

Although the newspaper misspelled my name, it is correct that I have not sponsored any bills this session. However, before you make a judgment about that, I would invite you to read my response to the newspaper, which you can find below.

The newspaper's editor declined my response, saying: "If I give Kristiansen a chance to explain, then I have to give all of the others a chance to explain. And we don't have room for that."

There is room in this e-newsletter for that explanation, which I believe is important. I always try in my correspondence to help educate the public about the legislative process. Volume of bills sponsored is not an accurate measure of effectiveness in Olympia, as you will see in the article below.

Please contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about any issues in this e-newsletter or other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!

In your service,

Dan

Rep. Dan Kristiansen - One of the Legislature's four top leaders

Effective leadership in Olympia is not measured by volume of bill sponsorships
By Rep. Dan Kristiansen

Recently, an article appeared in the Arlington Times which asked the question: “Are your lawmakers doing what you want them to in Olympia?” The article listed several local lawmakers, the number of bills they have sponsored, and a brief description of several of those measures. It also read “Rep. Dan Kristianson (sic) has sponsored 0 (zero) bills.” That’s a stark difference from the other lawmakers listed.

The average reader may take this as, “Wow, no bills! So what is Rep. Kristiansen doing in Olympia?”

Here’s my response to help readers and constituents understand that I am working very hard on their behalf.

In total, since first taking office in 2003, I have sponsored 34 bills, four resolutions (these are to honor notable people and groups in Washington) and one joint memorial (which is a letter to the president and Congress). I’m proud to say seven of those bills became law and all of the resolutions were adopted.

Anyone who truly knows the inner-workings of the Legislature, understands statistics like these are meaningless. If volume of bills was an accurate measurement, it might be argued that one senator was most effective because he introduced 136 bills during a biennium several years ago. The most infamous of his legislation was a proposal to allow dogs in bars. Incidentally, he’s no longer in the Legislature.

My role as a legislator is far greater than how many bills I sponsor during a session.Rep. Dan Kristiansen leads the House Republicans Communicator, problem solver, negotiator, diplomat, mediator: these are skills of effectiveness that good legislators bring to the table that cannot be measured in bill sponsorships. It is because of these skills that my caucus chose me to become House Republican leader two years ago. That’s just one step away from the highest honored position in the House – that of Speaker.

Frank Chopp is the longest serving Speaker in the Washington State House of Representatives. In 16 years, Speaker Chopp has introduced 45 resolutions honoring various people, but he has not sponsored or passed any of his own bills. Zero! This is common for a leader in the House.

As a state representative, I am not only representing my own district, answering phone calls, e-mails and letters from constituents, meeting with them, working to solve government-related problems for them, and doing all as I did in the past, but as House Republican leader, my role is now broader. Two years ago, I helped bring Senate Republicans and House Democrats together during contentious budget negotiations. They used my office as a neutral ground for discussions – “Switzerland” as one lawmaker called it – and I worked to facilitate communications. This helped to produce a bipartisan budget – the first in more than a decade – and we averted a government shutdown.

Frequently, when a constituent brings me a good idea for legislation, I will give that to other legislators for sponsorship so they can get the credit. As leader, I am also the “big picture” guy looking at issues with a broad wide-angle lens, becoming the conscience in the room, and bringing people from all sides together, including the governor, as we discuss what is most important and best for the citizens of Washington.

Effective leadership and representation of one’s district is not accurately measured by the amount of bills a legislator introduces. It is measured by how involved and engaged a legislator is in his or her district and in bringing the voice of the people to Olympia as we represent them at the state Capitol. That’s what I’m doing as your representative and as leader of the Washington House Republican Caucus.

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: A tale of two budgets | April 10, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Both the House Democrats and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (Republicans) have passed competing operating budgets out of their respective chambers.

Below is a brief side-by-side comparison of both budget proposals. I think there are things to like and dislike in both proposals. I like the fact that both proposals add millions of dollars to K-12 education, which should satisfy the state Supreme Court "McCleary Decision" requirements. Both the House and Senate recognize what a tremendous burden the high cost of tuition is on students in our colleges and universities, so they attempt to address those concerns in these proposals.House D Senate R budgets

I am very concerned, however, that House Democrats have passed their budget proposal, which is based on raising taxes by more than $1.5 billion. Their "revenue" (tax increase) package would include, among other items: a new capital gains income tax; an increase of business and occupation taxes on service businesses, which could impact our small Main Street Mom and Pop businesses; and extending the sales tax to bottled water, which voters rejected a few years ago. Interestingly enough, the Democrats have not brought up their tax increase bill for a vote in the House Finance Committee. Yet, they've passed a budget that relies on that bill.

The Senate proposal does not rely on tax increases. They recognize what I've been saying all along -- that the state is already getting a record pay raise -- more than $3 billion in additional tax collections because of a better economy. That's a 9 percent raise -- a lot more than most people have seen in their paychecks. We don't need a tax increase! But House Democrats want spending to be increased by 15 percent! And that brings me back to what I frequently say: Washington doesn't have a revenue problem -- it has a SPENDING problem!

Last week, I asked recipients of this email update to answer this question:

Do you support House Democrats' tax increase proposal? Here are the results:

  • No, the state should live within its means: 84.51%
  • Yes, the state needs more revenue to provide more services: 12.68%
  • Not sure, need more information: 2.82%

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn its regular session on April 26. Between now and that date, lawmakers from both chambers will need to get together to hammer out a compromise two-year budget, which will likely look much different from the two budgets presented here. We owe it to you, the taxpayers, to have this task finished and to be done on time by the end of the 105-day regular session.

Please contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!

In your service,

Dan

 A tale of two budgets
A brief comparison of the House and Senate budget proposals
PROPOSAL House Democrat
Operating Budget
Senate Majority Coalition Caucus Operating Budget
Taxes Relies on $1.5 billion in new taxes and tax increases including: a new capital gains income tax, an increase in the B&O tax for service businesses, and extension of the sales tax to bottled water and to Internet purchases No new taxes. Allows 15 exemptions to expire. Budget would make state live within existing revenues (which includes a $3 billion increase in revenues without tax hikes.)
Spending Would spend $38.9 billion -- up from current $33.8 billion budget -  a 15 percent increase Would spend $37.8 billion
K-12 education $740 million for maintenance, supplies and operations $741 million for maintenance, supplies and operations
 All-day kindergarten  $180 million  $184 million
Higher education tuition  Would freeze tuition rates Would decrease existing tuition prices by 25 percent
State employee compensation Three percent increase in 2016 and 1.8 percent increase in 2017 $2,000 raise for all state employees. Up to 25,000 of the state's lowest-paid workers would receive higher wages than the negotiated collective bargaining agreement
Eliminates the state spending limit? Yes No
Savings held for emergencies Only $4 million would remain in the state's ending fund balance for 2017-19 $500 million left in the bank, plus $900 million for state's rainy day fund
I-1351 class-size funding Includes only full-day kindergarten and class-size reductions already called for under McCleary decision. Voters will not get to decide Would pay for class-size reductions for kindergarten through third grade. Would send the proposed change back to voters to decide in November
State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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Kristiansen E-mail Update: Q and A on the House Democratic operating budget proposal | April 3, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

House Democrats released their operating budget proposal on Friday. They were originally going to hold a public hearing only two hours later. However, they agreed to wait until Monday after I wrote a letter to House Speaker Frank Chopp, which was signed by my Republican leadership team, asking him to give the public time to review and digest the document before holding a public hearing.

You can view the House Democratic operating budget spending plan here. It is House Democrat budget proposalcontained within House Bill 1106, which was voted off the House floor yesterday on a party-line vote, 51-47, with Republicans voting no. On Tuesday, the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on House Bill 2224, the tax increase proposal. It has yet to pass from the Finance Committee, so the budget that passed yesterday based on these taxes is essentially not completely funded.

Senate Republicans (Majority Coalition Caucus) also released their operating budget proposal Monday. It seems to be a more responsible package that does not rely on tax increases, but prioritizes spending in the budget. They were debating their version overnight last night and into the early morning hours before calling it quits without a final vote. They're expected to take up their budget again later. We'll examine that spending plan more closely in this e-newsletter next week.

For this week, I have provided a quick "Question and Answer" session below to help you understand the House Democratic operating budget proposal. Also, I invite you to watch my Legislative Update video here for additional information of my views on this plan.

Please contact my office with your questions, comments and suggestions about the budget proposal or any other matters relating to legislation and state government. It is an honor to serve and represent you!

In your service,

Dan

House Democratic Operating Budget Proposal
Questions and Answers

Q: House Democrats have released their two-year operating budget proposal. What does it look like?

A: Very succinctly, it looks like a lot of new tax increases and additional spending. The proposed operating budget would spend about $39 billion dollars over the next two years, starting in July. That’s up considerably from the current operating budget of about $34 billion dollars. It is a $5 BILLION SPENDING INCREASE.

Excluding teacher compensation and the class-size initiative, the House Democrat budget would increase funding for K-12 education by about $628 million, which would address the state Supreme Court's requirements under the McCleary decision. It would also freeze tuition at Washington’s colleges and universities. Plus, it would provide wage increases for teachers and state employees by three percent in the first year and 1.8 percent in the second year.

Q: What are your concerns about this budget proposal?

A: It would spend more money than the state is expected to take in and relies on budget/taxessignificant tax increases to make up the difference. Washington is expected to take in an additional $3 billion without tax increases. That’s nearly a nine percent increase in state revenue. There are not many people in the 39th District who have received a comparable pay increase in the last two years. Our citizens have to live within their means. However, nine percent is not enough for House Democrats. Their budget would increase spending by 15 percent.

I'm also very concerned that it eliminates the state spending limit, which has protected taxpayers for more than 20 years from unlimited government spending. To pay for all this new spending, House Democrats are proposing to raise taxes by more than $1.5 billion.

Q: What kind of tax increases are they proposing?

A: House Democrats are proposing a new 5 percent capital gains income tax on about 32,000 people. That’s about the size of the entire populations of Darrington, Granite Falls, Monroe and Snohomish combined. If you add the families of those 32,000 people who would all be affected, then you are talking about thousands upon thousands of people. I am also very concerned this new tax would be a foot in the door to a much wider and broader state income tax.

Democrats are also proposing a 20 percent business and occupation tax increase on service businesses, which would hurt Main Street Mom and Pop businesses – many who are already struggling to remain open in this uncertain economy.

Here are several other job-creating tax incentives they want to eliminate:

House D budget revenues 2015Interestingly enough, we always hear Democrats talk about the evils of “tax loopholes” and how those tax incentives should be repealed. But did you know that since 2005, 120 of the 140 tax incentive bills that were signed into law were prime-sponsored by Democrats? And all of those tax incentive bills were signed into law by Democratic governors.

Q: So what happens from here?

A: Both the House Democrats and the Senate Republicans are expected to pass their operating budget proposals individually from each chamber. Eventually, these will be merged into one proposal that will be referred to a conference committee made up of "the four corners," which are House and Senate Democrats and Senate and House Republicans. That's when budget negotiations begin. What is for certain is the budget as proposed by House Democrats will look entirely different from the final compromise budget that is passed by the House and Senate.

Q: Why and how should citizens get involved?Budget let your voice be heard

A: In Olympia, your silence means agreement. If your lawmakers hear nothing from you, they assume you agree with the policies, budgets and spending put forward. If you want government to grow by 15 percent and you want your taxes to go up more and more each year, then just sit back and watch and do nothing. But if you disagree, you need to speak up and let us know what you think of this budget plan and the proposed tax increases.

Please take a moment and answer my survey question on this very important issue. Go here to give your input:

CLICK HERE TO TAKE MY SURVEY.

This is YOUR money. You should have a voice in how it is spent and whether or not taxes are raised.

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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DATE CHANGE: Telephone town hall moved to Monday, March 30

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Due to anticipated House floor action on Thursday evening, Rep. Elizabeth Scott and I have changed the date for our telephone town hall. Our community conversation will now be Monday, March 30, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The number you can call to participate remains the same: (360) 350-6256. We look forward to hearing your views and answering your questions.

In your service,
Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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E-mail update: Telephone town hall on Thursday, April 2 | March 25, 2015

    
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I will be hosting a telephone town hall with Rep. Elizabeth Scott on Thursday, April 2, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. To join the community conversation, please call (360) 350-6256. Similar to a call-in radio show, the format allows you to ask questions, participate in poll questions, or just listen in throughout the hour. We hope you can join us!
Questions prior to the event can be directed to me at (360) 786-7967 or dan.kristiansen@leg.wa.gov, or to Rep. Scott at (360) 786-7816 or elizabeth.scott@leg.wa.gov.
The 105-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn April 26.
In your service,
Dan
State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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E-mail update: Remembering the Oso landslide | March 20, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

Sunday will mark the one-year anniversary of the Oso landslide. This tragic event has had a profound effect on so many of us, with thoughts that will remain for a lifetime. The Oso landslide also revealed amazing stories of heroism, compassion and perseverance in our communities and beyond. I witnessed many of these acts firsthand and it was truly inspiring. I talk about some of these experiences in my recent video update.

Medal of Valor | Senate Bill 5035

The collective response of our communities was the inspiration for Senate Bill 5035. The measure, prime sponsored by Sen. Kirk Pearson and signed into law March 2, allows the Medal of Valor to be awarded to a group of persons who saved, or attempted to save, the life of another at the risk of serious injury to themselves. Prior to this legislation, the Medal of Valor could only be awarded to individuals. This article covered the bill signing.

Recipients of the Medal of Valor are selected by a nominating committee. No one has received the award since 2007, when four people -- including 39th District residents Timothy Bourasaw and Rick Bowers -- were recognized for their valor. You can learn about their stories in this article.

The Medal of Valor was awarded for the first time in 2006. That year, Jim Swett, also from the 39th District, received the award. You can learn more about his act of courage here. This means seven out of the 12 people who have received the Medal of Valor are from the 39th District.

The Medal of Valor cannot be awarded to police officers or firefighters, or others whose actions are a result of their public duties as a first responder. More information about the Medal of Valor, in addition to the Medal of Merit, can be found at this Secretary of State Web page.

Joint session of the Legislature

There was a joint session of the Legislature for the Medal of Valor and Medal of Merit on Wednesday. The communities of Arlington, Darrington, Oso and the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe were awarded individual Medal of Valor certificates for their outstanding acts of valor and personal sacrifice, at risk of injury and death, in assisting with rescue, recovery and relief efforts of the Oso landslide. Accepting the award on behalf of their communities were: Brantly Stupey (Arlington); Quinn Nations (Darrington); Willy Harper (Oso); and Kevin Lenon (Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe). All four embody the spirit and inspiration of their communities in the aftermath of the Oso landslide.

Medal of Valor
Pictured: Sen. Kirk Pearson, Rep. Elizabeth Scott and Rep. Dan Kristiansen with the four Medal of Valor recipients and the Color Guard for the ceremony.  

The presentation of the flags was conducted by Darrington Fire District 24. The invocation was provided by Reverend Joel Johnson, Chaplain, Oso Fire Department, and pastor at Assembly of God Church in Arlington.

At the ceremony, the Medal of Merit was awarded to Gretchen Schodde and Billy Frank Jr. (deceased). These individuals are not connected to the Oso landslide, but represent amazing stories. You can learn more about them, in addition to the details of both awards, in this event program.

Pictures from the ceremony can be found in this online gallery. The Everett Herald and KOMO News were among the media outlets that covered the event.

Events this weekend

On Sunday at 9:00 a.m., Snohomish County will host an event to honor and remember the 43 people who lost their lives in the Oso landslide. SR 530 will be closed just west of Darrington and east of Oso, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. You can learn more about this event and others that will be held in the area this weekend here.

Telephone town hall on April 2

I will be hosting a telephone town hall with Rep. Elizabeth Scott on Thursday, April 2, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. To join in, simply call (360) 350-6256. Once connected, you can ask us questions or just listen in. We hope you can join us that evening.

In your service,
Dan

State Representative Dan Kristiansen
39th Legislative District
Website: www.representativedankristiansen.com
335C Legislative Building - P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000
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