19 05, 2017

Property owners across the state face tax hike under Senate Republican plan

May 19th, 2017|Radio|

OLYMPIA – Under the state Senate Republican budget plan, property taxes would increase in school districts all across the state (TRT: 1:21) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD



While there is agreement from both Democrats and Republicans that revenue is needed to amply fund schools for Washington’s 1.1 million students and their teachers, it’s the source of revenue that is concerning for many in the legislature. Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Sharon Nelson of Maury Island is skeptical about the Senate Republican budget proposal.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island: TRT: (:16) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “They are selling this as an education plan. It is not an education plan; it is a property tax plan. They are saying it will benefit many, many districts. Well, actually there are a lot of districts are going to see their property taxes going up, not down under this plan.”

Under the Senate Republican’s $5.5 billion dollar property tax plan, by 2021, homeowners in all but three of the state’s 295 school districts will see a property tax increase if local voters approve 10 percent school levy rates.

For school districts in King County, this would mean the average increase in property tax would cost homeowners about $445 dollars per year. In Kitsap County, the average increase would be about $242 dollars; and in Kittitas County, the average property tax increase would be about $235 dollars per year.

The 30-day special session in Olympia will end on Tuesday.

In Olympia, Nicole Vukonich.

4 05, 2017

Cleveland, Cody say Democrats will fight to protect people’s health care

May 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Key lawmakers say Democrats in the state Capitol will do everything in their power to provide Washingtonians continued access to affordable health care if the U.S. Senate should advance the bill that was passed today by the U.S. House to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA).

State Sen. Annette Cleveland, the ranking member of the Senate Health Care Committee, and state Rep. Eileen Cody, the chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, said Democrats in both chambers will be scouring the large and fine print of the federal legislation to identify provisions that would reduce access or affordability in Washington state.

“Congress rushed to a vote before the bill could be scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine how much it would cost and what it would do,” Cleveland said. “The CBO’s score of an earlier version of the AHCA determined that 24 million Americans would lose health care coverage over 10 years.  This is simply unacceptable. Citizens in our state need to know that we are carefully working to identify and craft state solutions to any federal changes that would affect Washingtonians, in the event the U.S. Senate passes the bill.”

Cleveland noted that the state’s public-private marketplace has been serving more than 1.8 million people, or one-in-four Washingtonians, reducing the uninsured rate by 60 percent to the point that now less than 6 percent are uninsured in our state

“Congressional Republicans have time and time again put politics above the health of Americans and today is another example of blind partisanship,” Cody said. “The AHCA takes away access to care for millions of Americans. It is clear that Trumpcare is not about patients but about cutting taxes for the ultra-wealthy. In Washington state, I will continue to fight for protecting patients, expanding access to care, and ensuring people with preexisting conditions can get health care. Our state will not be pursuing any waiver or policy that takes away healthcare from patients.”

The lawmakers said areas where Washingtonians might be undermined by the AHCA include: a reduction in federal subsidies that help cover the cost of private insurance for many Washingtonians; a reduction in Medicaid funding that provides health care to more than 600,000 Washingtonians; reversal of a reduction in average annual premium increases from 18.5 percent pre-ACA to 6.7 percent today; and a loosening of the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.