(360) 786-7608|mark.mullet@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: March 2015

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    Mullet: Republicans’ proposed operating budget ‘fiscally irresponsible’

Mullet: Republicans’ proposed operating budget ‘fiscally irresponsible’

March 31st, 2015|

The operating budget proposed today by Senate Republicans is fiscally irresponsible and needs fundamental improvement before it can be seriously considered, said Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, ranking member on the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

“This budget would ring up long-term debt to pay day to day operating costs,” said Mullet, who worked for more than a decade as a managing director for Bank of America. “This is the equivalent of a homeowner taking out a second mortgage to pay the water bill. That’s just fiscally irresponsible.”

The Republicans’ proposal would take out bonds to fund operating expenses, a fundamental financial no-no, Mullet said. At issue is the state’s Public Works Assistance Account, which exists to help finance infrastructure loans for local governments. The fund enables local governments to pay for major construction costs over time, not day to day operating expenses.

“Bonds should not be used to pay for operating costs. This scheme turns daily expenses into long-term debt,” said Mullet, the owner of local pizza and ice cream businesses. “I would never do anything like this in my home or businesses and I won’t do it with the taxpayers’ money.”

When the Republicans proposed emptying the Public Works Account to balance the budget in the previous biennium, Mullet said, he agreed to vote for it as a one-time use of the account’s funds to avoid a government shutdown. “This year the account is empty and it doesn’t take a math whiz to know it’s bad public policy to take money from an empty account,” he said.

“We still have time to fix this and craft a budget that is fiscally sound,” Mullet said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on a solution that uses the taxpayers’ dollars more responsibly.”

Mullet co-sponsored bipartisan legislation earlier this session (Senate Bill 6035) that would have prohibited the state from exactly this kind of maneuver. It was sponsored by 10 Republicans and 14 Democrats. The bill did not receive a hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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    Senate passes Mullet bill to create retirement savings plans

Senate passes Mullet bill to create retirement savings plans

March 11th, 2015|

Small businesses would be able to offer no-cost savings plans to help employees at small businesses save for retirement, under legislation passed today by the Senate on a 29-20 vote.

Senate Bill 5826,” sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, now goes to the House for consideration there.

“I know many small business owners, like me, would like to be able to help their employees save for retirement,” Mullet said. “Unfortunately for many small businesses, however, the cost and administrative burden required by existing plans makes them unaffordable.”

Mullet’s legislation would create simple, affordable retirement savings plans run entirely by the private sector at no cost to the employer and minimal cost to the employee. An earlier version of Mullet’s legislation, introduced in the 2014 session, would have had the state provide the plans. This bill relies entirely on the private sector for the plans.

“This legislation will help employees save for retirement, which is critical to their ability to make ends meet in their later years,” Mullet said. “It will reduce the extent of the need and cost of safety-net programs for retirees who lack savings, it will enable small businesses to help their employees save toward retirement, and it will make our communities stronger.”

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    Mullet: Proposed transportation projects vital to region and travel

Mullet: Proposed transportation projects vital to region and travel

March 5th, 2015|

A major project in the transportation package passed this week by the Senate will ease rush-hour traffic on Interstate 90 from Issaquah to Bellevue and reduce congestion in other areas vital to the region, Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, said today.

“Everyone knows how horrible our traffic is, and every month we lose a bigger chunk of our day sitting in traffic,” Mullet said. “This legislation will cut down on the time folks are stuck in traffic so they can get home sooner and have more time to spend with their kids.”

The I-90 project will add capacity by strengthening and restriping the shoulders of the road to allow their use as travel lanes during peak periods between Issaquah and Bellevue. Signage will be added to regulate when the lanes may be used.

In addition, the package includes two major projects that greatly impact the region.

The first will add a lane in both directions on I-405 between Renton and Bellevue, one of the worst chokepoints in the state. The second will widen I-90 to relieve congestion over Snoqualmie Pass.

“Both these projects are critically needed,” Mullet said. “Travel along 405 has been untenable for more than a decade, while the pass faces two problems: our ability to move goods from our farms in Eastern Washington to our ports, and the ability of travelers to get back home after a weekend in Eastern Washington. It doesn’t do any good to live in the most beautiful state in the nation if we can’t take advantage of its benefits.”

Mullet noted that the transportation package had support from both sides of the aisle and said it contains vital accountability measures.

”This legislation calls for efficiencies and oversight to make sure that our state Department of Transportation uses our tax dollars wisely and efficiently,” he said. ”If we’re all going to be asked to pay for more and better roads, we need to make sure we get our money’s worth out of each and every dollar.”

The package now goes to the House for consideration there.

“This is my third year in Olympia and the first after three tries that we’ve been able to move a transportation package out of the Senate,” Mullet said. “As it moves to the House, I’m optimistic we can find additional funds to relieve congestion on Highway 18 and I-90 and other frustrating choke points around Puget Sound.”

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    Mullet legislation on financial literacy passes Senate, heads to House

Mullet legislation on financial literacy passes Senate, heads to House

March 2nd, 2015|

Legislation requiring that high school students be taught basic financial literacy passed the Senate today on a 44-4 vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration there.

Senate Bill 5202, sponsored by Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, would create Essential Academic Learning Requirements for financial education. The curriculum would cover basics such as how to manage a checkbook, how savings compound and provide financial security, and so forth.

“As the owner of two small businesses, I’ve noticed that a number of my younger employees lack the basic tools to make good personal financial decisions,” Mullet said. “These are good employees, and I want to see them do well, so this troubles me. I also suspect that young employees in other companies face similar challenges.”

Mullet’s legislation would provide instructional materials and resources to help integrate financial education skills and content into the state learning requirements. A public-private partnership made up of legislators, financial services professionals, educators and specialists from appropriate state agencies would collaborate on financial education standards, strategies for improving curriculum, measures to determine whether students meet financial education standards, and guidance for professional development.

“We all want our coworkers and neighbors to do well, whether they work with us for years or move onto other jobs,” Mullet said. “The better we all do as individuals, the stronger our respective households can be and the healthier our communities will be.”