Washington Taxes Rising Despite Record Revenue
Representative Joe Schmick
CLARKSTON, WA – Representative Joe Schmick is both concerned and excited about what happened in Olympia during the last legislative session. He says the state has record income from taxes because of the recent economic growth, but the budget is calling for even higher taxes. “If you look back in the state history, every eight to ten years, we have a slowdown in our economy. I sure hope we don’t have one now because a lot of stuff we’ve started we won’t be able to pay for. I don’t think this budget is sustainable.” Schmick went on to say that even if the budget flattens out, we may have some hard times coming.
He’s very excited about the progress the state is making in mental health. When a judge requests a mental health evaluation before a trial can begin, there is a seven-day window for the state to make that happen. Right now Schmick says it takes about ten days. New funding has made a plan realistic that brings that number down to a legal time. It will include new locations that can house the person being evaluated.
This year has been full of national headlines for Washington State. With Governor Jay Inslee running for President, Schmick says Inslee has been able to get his ideas pushed through much more easily than before. “Quite frankly, until this year, he’s never been able to pass any major piece of any agenda that he had. And this year, he has. The clean energy, that doesn’t kick in until after the next election, but this idea of 100% renewable, that’s going to cost rate-payers a lot of money.” Schmick says one of the reasons the rates will go up is because utilities have to keep coming up with more “renewable” energy, but they can’t include water continuously running through the dams in the state. He says because the cost of what Inslee considers renewable is so much higher than traditional sources of energy, the people of the state will continue to get hit harder while their taxes are also going up.