Monthly Archives: May 2017

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    Saldaña’s Yakima Herald Op-Ed (In English/En Español): Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

Saldaña’s Yakima Herald Op-Ed (In English/En Español): Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

May 22nd, 2017|

Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

By state Sen. Rebecca Saldaña

May 20, 2017

Throughout this legislative session, I have heard more times than I can remember how the interests of Seattle are at odds with Eastern Washington. But there is something my district in South Seattle shares with communities in the Yakima Valley: We can count ourselves among many throughout Washington who will see a big property tax hike under the state Senate Republican budget.

To fund their budget they rely on a levy swap, which they claim raises taxes only in “rich districts.” But school districts throughout Washington — including Union Gap, Zillah, Toppenish, Wapato and Mount Adams — will see an increase in taxes under their plan. Others will be forced to choose to raise their property taxes, sometimes by hundreds of dollars, if they vote to support their schools with a 10 percent levy. This is true in Yakima, Sunnyside, Naches Valley and Selah.

Just like many of you, the majority of people in my district can’t afford these tax hikes. Whether it is a working family or someone on a fixed income, taxpayers in this state are already struggling to make ends meet. I have lived in both rural farming communities in the Northwest as well as the city of Seattle. I understand how difficult it is to find solutions to complex problems that will work for our diverse communities and people in Washington.

School funding is one of those complex challenges, and what lawmakers do this year may well define our education system for a generation. In order to do this right, it will take a serious commitment from both Republicans and Democrats.

Unfortunately, the Senate budget raises property taxes in dozens and dozens of communities that can’t afford it. Meanwhile, Senate Republican budget negotiators are also refusing to come to the table with House Democrats who have asked for meetings repeatedly.

The funding approaches between the two budgets are stark. This is to be expected. But the political divide can only be breached by honest, good-faith negotiations. I know there are many Senate Republicans who want to reach across the aisle and work this out for their constituents. Like me, they believe that whether you live in Seattle or Selah, taxpayers should get the most for their dollar and know what it buys.

But raising taxes on some homeowners to buy lower taxes for others is not an equitable solution to our school funding question. After all, we all want our kids to succeed and our schools thrive. And though no one likes taxes, both Republicans and Democrats rely on them to fund our schools and balance their budgets.

The only way we will ever find solutions that work for all of us is for everyone to come to the negotiation table. This is what the people of this state expect of their leaders, no matter where they live.

El presupuesto del senado tiene el enfoque equivocado para ambos lados de las montañas

Por la senadora estatal Rebecca Saldaña

A través de esta sesión legislativa, he escuchado una y otra vez cómo los intereses de Seattle están en desacuerdo con los del oriente de Washington. Pero hay algo que mi distrito en el sur de Seattle comparte con las comunidades en el Valle de Yakima: Nos podemos contar entre los muchos en Washington que verán una gran alza de impuestos de propiedad bajo el presupuesto de los republicanos en el senado.

Para financiar su presupuesto, los Republicanos usan una ‘levy swap’ que, según ellos, sólo alza los impuestos en “distritos ricos.” Pero casi todos los distritos escolares en Washington, incluyendo Union Gap, Zillah, Toppenish, Wapato y Mount Adams, verán un alza de impuestos bajo este plan. Otros se verán obligados a optar por aumentar impuestos de propiedad local, a veces por cientos de dólares, si votan para apoyar a sus escuelas con una ‘levy’ del 10 por ciento. Esto es cierto en Yakima, Sunnyside, Naches Valley y Selah.

Como muchos de ustedes, la mayoría de las personas en mi distrito no pueden permitirse estas alzas de impuestos. Si se trata de familias trabajadoras o personas con ingreso fijo, los contribuyentes en este estado ya están luchando para llegar al fin del mes. He vivido en comunidades rurales en el noroeste y también en la ciudad de Seattle. Entiendo lo difícil que es encontrar soluciones a problemas complejos que funcionen para nuestras diversas comunidades y personas en Washington.

La financiación escolar es un reto complejo. Lo que hacemos los legisladores este año puede definir el sistema educativo para las generaciones futuras en Washington. Para hacer esto bien, será necesario contar con un compromiso serio de ambos republicanos y demócratas.

Desafortunadamente, el presupuesto del senado eleva los impuestos de propiedad en comunidades a través del estado que simplemente no podrían pagar. Mientras tanto, los negociadores del presupuesto republicano se niegan a reunirse con los demócratas de la cámara de representantes que siguen pidiendo juntas.

Hay diferencias en los enfoques de financiación entre los presupuestos de los republicanos y demócratas. Esto es de esperar. Pero la división política sólo puede ser solucionada mediante negociaciones honestas y de buena fe. Sé que hay muchos republicanos, tanto como demócratas, en el senado que quieren trabajar conjuntamente para resolver este problema. Como yo, ellos creen que independientemente de si usted vive en Seattle o en Selah, los contribuyentes deben sacar el máximo provecho de sus impuestos y saber en qué se invierten.

Pero aumentar los impuestos de algunos propietarios para bajar impuestos para otros no es una solución equitativa al problema de financiamiento para las escuelas. Después de todo, queremos que nuestros hijos tengan éxito y nuestras escuelas prosperen. Y aunque a nadie le gustan los impuestos, tanto los republicanos como los demócratas confían en ellos para financiar las escuelas y balancear el presupuesto.

La única manera en que encontraremos soluciones permanentes que funcionen para todos es que ambos republicanos y demócratas vengan a la mesa de negociaciones. Esto es lo que la gente de ambos lados del estado espera de sus líderes.

* Rebecca Saldaña es la senadora estatal del distrito legislativo 37, que cubre gran parte del sur de Seattle y partes de Renton.

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    Legislative Update: The end of the 2017 legislative session?

Legislative Update: The end of the 2017 legislative session?

May 11th, 2017|

Saldana banner

The end of the 2017 legislative session?

Speaking at a rally

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2017 legislative session will end on Sunday without addressing our paramount duty to fund education and without passing a state budget. Despite efforts by Democrats to urge them to come to the table, Senate Republicans have refused to negotiate. That is why the Governor will immediately summon the Legislature back into special session to finish the budget.

This is extremely frustrating and unnecessary. I remain hopeful however that the negotiators can come together and produce a fair and balanced budget soon.

In spite of the anticlimactic end to the regular session, the Legislature did move many good policies forward. Recently a constituent noted that I had signed onto a lot of bills and wondered how many of those bills were still alive.

So, while we await news on the state budget, I’ve included the status of a handful of my policy priorities this session.

It has been a great honor to serve you these past months, and I will continue to update you as the budget is negotiated. As always, I hope you’ll stay in touch.

Regards,

Signature

Saldana bill signing with frame

First Bill Signed Into Law

I had my first bill signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee, Senate Bill 5837, which will expand access to HOV lanes for blood donation vehicles. With increased technology, better blood-type matches are possible – making the quick transport of life-saving blood ever more important. My father became a blood donor as a child so he could help his sister and has continued to be a donor in Washington state. This is an issue that has touched many of us, and this bill will help ensure blood donation vehicles can continue to do their best work as we evaluate how HOV lanes can better serve Washingtonians. For more information, please click here.

Online privacy

Protecting Internet Privacy

I am the co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill called the Internet Privacy Act. If passed, this would block internet providers’ ability to collect and sell identifiable, personal information without the customer’s permission. Failure by corporations to comply would be a violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act.

We wrote and submitted this bill after the Congress voted to suspend Federal Communications Commission rules protecting internet privacy. Legislation like this has since been introduced in over 20 states and is critical to ensuring personal information is kept private.

The House bill just passed by 87-10. It now heads to the Senate, where 12 Senate Republicans co-sponsored the Senate companion bill. Unfortunately, Senate Republican leadership has indicated they are not committed to passing the bill this session. I will continue to work to keep the bill moving, but if you are interested in this issue I encourage you to submit comments on it by clicking here. You can also find contact information for all senators here.

Saldana clip with frame

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

*Stay tuned for district office contact information

April 21, 2017

Hopper

Education
ESHB 1600:
Increasing the career and college readiness of public school students. (Has not yet passed)
SHB 1445
Dual language in early learning and K-12 education. (Passed)
HB 1059
Delaying the levy cliff (Passed)
Labor Standards & Worker Justice
ESHB 1714
Improving nursing staffing practices at hospitals. (Passed)
SB 5833
Increases the basic and alternate minimum benefits for certain retired teachers. (Did not pass)
ESHB 1115
Concerning professional development for paraeducators. (Passed)
Economic Development & Small Business Support
EHB 2005
Improving the business climate in this state by simplifying business regulations. (Passed)
ESHB 1538
Helping smaller contracting firms and disadvantaged businesses be more competitive in contracting bids. (Passed)
Health & Safety
SHB 1234
Addressing private health plan coverage of contraceptives, allowing a year of birth control refills. (Passed)
ESHB 1808
Providing support for foster youth in obtaining drivers’ licenses and automobile liability insurance. (Passed)
SHB 1100
Helping ensure concealed pistol licenses stay up to date. (Passed)
Animal Welfare & Environmental Stewardship
HB 1676
Ensuring protection for guide dogs or service animals in training. (Passed)
ESHB 2126
Creating a community based approach to provide assistance with nonlethal wolf management methods to reduce livestock attacks. (Passed)
SHB 1353
Commissioning an elk management pilot project. (Passed)