5/29/2013 2:31:00 PM State Senator Linda Evans Parlette's update
By Linda Evans Parletterl
Monday was Memorial Day and while we enjoy the company of friends and family on this extended weekend, it's important that we also keep in mind the significance of the holiday. The true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces, and I'm taking this opportunity to begin this week's update by recognizing their service and sacrifice.
Today's news has been dominated by the Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River that partially collapsed after being struck by an oversized load Thursday. Most importantly, everyone involved is safe which is a small miracle and our thanks go out to the first responders who were quick to arrive on the scene. Focus now turns to rebuilding the bridge and reconnecting this vital transportation route. This event is an important reminder that while it may be tempting to focus transportation revenues on new projects, that it's vital to first protect the infrastructure that we have.
In Olympia, budget negotiations continued this week. To save money, our caucus has been holding meetings that members can participate in via teleconference or videoconference, rather than traveling to Olympia. I was glad to be able to go on local radio stations this morning with Rep. Cary Condotta to give an update on where things stand.
The primary sticking point in negotiations has been the taxes proposed the governor and majority party in the House of Representatives on our state's businesses. As you may recall, in 2010 the then-majority party in the Senate joined with the House and governor to suspend the two-thirds rule for tax increases and temporarily raise the B&O tax on service businesses, such as doctors and architects. That increase is set to expire at the end of June, but the governor and House Democrats have proposed it be continued, which would cost our state businesses an estimated $534 million over the next two years.
Making sure the Legislature keeps its word and allows the taxes to expire is a top priority of our bipartisan coalition in the Senate. Once the House and governor agree to allow the taxes to expire, it will be easier for a budget agreement to come together. I'm confident we have made progress in convincing them we're serious and that things will begin to develop soon. By law the special session can last up to 30 days, which means it must conclude by June 11.
Look for a more detailed budget update from me next week.