Update from Olympia

FloorGreetings from Olympia,

It’s been a busy week in your state Capitol. We’ve been working late into the evenings voting on all kinds of bills, mostly proposals by the majority party to increase energy costs, raise property taxes, impose new taxes on consumers, and grow government. You can be assured that I’ve been voting “No” on those efforts. Instead, I’ve taken opportunities to speak up for you on the Senate Floor, pointing out the facts. We don’t need to tax you more.

Thanks to the federal tax cuts and deregulation, our state is projected to receive billions more of your tax dollars than we expected. These aren’t my words. Our state economist was on TVW saying the same thing. In fact, the state’s budget is edging past $50 billion, and too many in Olympia think it’s still not enough.

Whether it’s affordable housing, education or transportation, the only solutions coming from those in charge are MORE TAXES!

I’ve adopted a three-pronged strategy to deal with these pressing issues before the Legislature:

  1. Transportation;
  2. Education; and
  3. Housing and Homelessness.

Read more about my approach to addressing these problems below.

Fully Funding Transportation

Phil's plan

In my last e-news update, I asked your input on how the state should address transportation funding. The results are clear. In case you missed it, you can read more about my plan by clicking here. Right now, we are stuck in an endless cycle of creating project lists and raising taxes to pay for them. In the transportation package being considered now, I was able to secure a lot of great things for our district, but to get them I’ll have to vote for billions in new taxes, including an $8 billion carbon tax and increase in the gas tax. I’ll be fighting to use the money you already send Olympia to meet our growing infrastructure needs.

Driving More Money into the Classroom

Classroom

There are over 1,400 unfunded mandates from the state on our local schools. These cost money. Conversations in Olympia are focused on how we get more money for schools. I want to know how we can get the billions we are already spending where they need to go – educating kids in the classroom. We spend about half of a $50 billion two-year budget on K-12 education. If we were able to save just 5 percent by reducing these mandates, that’s over $1 billion more for our students. Click here to learn more about my proposal.

Fighting for the American Dream

While our state is in the midst of a self-imposed housing crisis, I’m committed to finding real solutions. I sponsored legislation to make building single-family homes more affordable. The problem is that government regulations and fees are making the costs to build too high. Now, an entry-level home is more than $400,000. That puts the biggest driver of wealth creation for low- and middle-income families – their own home – out of reach. Instead of pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into government-subsidized housing, which costs more per unit than the private sector, we need to look at the underlying costs. Click on the image to watch a short video and here for a write-up I did on how we can make home ownership a reality for more people.

It is an honor serving as your state senator. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any concerns you have about your state government.

Sincerely,

Fortunato Signature

Phil Fortunato,

Your 31st District Senator