Representative Jim McCune
Photo from Representative McCune’s official website
From Rep. Jim McCune’s e-mail,
On Monday, January 12, I had the honor of being sworn in as state representative again for the great people of the 2nd Legislative District. The trust my constituents have put in me is humbling and I am ready for the work ahead.
Now that ceremonial activities are out of the way, it is time for state lawmakers to tackle the challenges facing families across our state. And the 2009 legislative session will be focused on two main issues: the state budget and economy.
First, our state budget. According to recent independent forecasts, our state now faces a $6 billion budget shortfall, and the number is still growing. While a sagging national economy has contributed to this problem, the primary reason is the majority party and governor have increased state spending by 33 percent, which is more than $8 billion, over the last four years. Now is the time to commit to a limited and more efficient state government. While cuts to state government will not be easy, they are necessary.
The other alternative is something I will never support: tax increases. In fact, one state senator is proposing a state income tax. Families, and businesses for that matter, are not responsible for the budget problem, nor should they be expected to pay for the budget solution.
It is time for state government to live within its means and prioritize. Prioritizing means focusing on the core functions of state government: education, public safety, transportation, and protecting our most vulnerable people. Once these core functions are fully funded, state lawmakers should then debate about what to do with the remaining revenue.
Second, our state economy. It was disappointing to learn recently that our state unemployment rate has increased to 7.1 percent [Ed. Note: This letter was written prior to the 5,500 additional layoffs at Boeing, 6,700 systemwide at Starbucks and 5,000 at Microsoft.]. I fear this number could go up before it goes down. This puts a priority on ensuring that all decisions made in Olympia this year take into account the preservation and creation of jobs.
State lawmakers must find ways to help struggling employers and, in turn, families. This starts by not raising taxes or fees. Beyond this, we must maintain existing tax incentives and remove regulatory burdens on small businesses so they can thrive and either retain or hire employees.
In closing, I also wanted to apprise you of a public safety bill I am sponsoring that has received media interest. House Bill 1531 would require criminal background checks for locksmiths doing business in the state. If you would like more information on this measure, please let me know.
If you ever have any comments or views to pass along, please contact me. My contact information is above. You can also send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or here.
You can also stay connected to me and state government through my Web site including my newsroom, legislation and district information. Please visit any time.
413 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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