The challenges that faced the Legislature in 2014 — education funding, a transportation plan for all Washingtonians and important policies to address climate change, oil train transportation safety and mental health — are the same challenges the 2015 legislature must tackle.

Unfortunately for our state, rather than beginning this difficult work on Day 1 with all options on the table, Senate Republicans passed a rule that will foster gridlock instead of cooperation. Circumventing the state constitution, they passed a rule that will require two-thirds of Senators to approve any “new taxes”. This means our state’s tax structure — often referred to as the most regressive in the nation — will remain firmly in place.

Senate Democrats believe working families and small businesses are already facing an uphill climb and shouldn’t continue to shoulder the burden of Washington’s out-of-date and unfair tax structure.

We will continue to fight for fair education funding and a transportation plan that benefits the entire state. Unfortunately, this goal was made more difficult by the Republican majority’s Senate rule change.

We must get to work immediately if we are going to complete the job in 105 days. There are many challenges ahead, but with historic challenges comes historic opportunities to improve life for all Washingtonians.

Let’s get to work!