|Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
What a difference one vote makes. Last year I was the 25th vote in the 49-member Senate, giving the Republicans the majority. Taxpayers were safe from the proposed income tax, carbon tax and mileage tax. All the anti-Second Amendment bills never saw the light of day.
With the change in the majority to the other party, by one vote, the floodgates have opened.
Last year we passed a bipartisan budget after much wrangling and compromise. But this year, after taxpayers gave the state over $2.3 billion of their hard-earned tax dollars more than was expected, Republicans never even got to see the budget. We fought to give you back $1 billion in property tax relief this year. The opposition’s shell-game budget diverted $700 million of your money from the constitutionally required savings account. They spent all of your money and gave you 60 percent less of a tax cut next year, when taxes are already going down. This “dangerous precedent,” as the state treasurer said, could result in higher interest on our bond payments, costing the taxpayers millions under the guise of lowering your taxes.
In the end, the carbon tax was barely defeated, which would have added 20-30 cents a gallon at the gas pump and $30-50 a month to your heating bill. There are never enough tax dollars. They spent all your tax money plus some of your savings.
In addition to bad budgeting, there were a number of bills affecting individuals’ moral principles, such as an abortion insurance mandate. The mandate forces individuals and companies to pay for the abortions of others. Ironically, I gave a freedom of choice speech on this issue. No matter how you feel about the controversial topic, no one should be forced to pay for something they don’t want. If you want abortion coverage, you can add it to your policy. Why force others, who may be morally opposed, to pay?
You can also now “rent a womb” under state law. In the past, women have volunteered to help other couples have a child by being a surrogate mother. There is grave concern that this could put low-income women at risk for human trafficking or coercion, with nowhere to turn. While the rest of the world is moving away from this practice, in our state you can now hire a woman to carry a child for you.