Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're now nine days into a special session limited to 30 days and yet there is still no budget for us to vote on. People keep asking me, “Why isn't there a budget yet?”
One of the pieces holding up the budget is the unresolved issue of workers' compensation reform.
More than 320,000 people in Washington are unemployed and looking for work. In the 16th District, there were 3,809 people out of work in March. To put that in perspective, it's nearly the same as the entire populations of Dayton (2,644) and Waitsburg (1,262) combined.
My House Republican colleagues and I believe the long-term solution to our state's budget problem is getting Washington working again. When people are working, they have a better quality of life and they can afford to spend more money. The taxes collected from that spending increase the revenue for our state budget, which provides for essential services, such as education, public safety and protection of the state's most vulnerable.
A critical component to help employers retain and create jobs is reforming our state's workers' compensation system to reduce costs. When costs are reduced, it will free up more resources so employers can hire again.
Republicans and Democrats have forged an agreement on workers' compensation reform. It passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but this legislation is being held up by the speaker of the House. Four times, House Republicans have attempted to bring workers' compensation reform legislation to the floor for a vote, including this past Monday. Unfortunately, our attempts have failed each time.
Yesterday, an article by columnist Kate Riley was published in The Seattle Times which explains this issue very well. It's entitled, “Speaker Frank Chopp: Who is running your House?” I invite you to click here to read it.
Kate Riley's explanation also sheds light on why we don't have a budget. One person has held up the budget process and it's why we've burned through a 103-day session and are in day nine of a special session. It happens to be the same person blocking workers' compensation reform.
I invite your comments.
26 East Main, Suite 205
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone: (509) 526-6284
2815 St. Andrews Loop, Suite C
Pasco, WA 99301
Phone: (509) 543-3325
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve you.