J N WYSS
Washington has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation. Our tax system relies on taxing producers, savings and equity, not to mention the “death tax” that is punitive to our farmers and ranchers. The tax system places significant burdens on business in the state and puts our state at a competitive disadvantage.
Only three states (Washington, West Virginia, and Ohio) and a few municipalities in West Virginia and Kentucky impose B&O Taxes on business gross receipts. Our service industries in Washington carry the heaviest burden with these taxes at nearly triple of the other classifications. Calls for an in crease in the B&O tax would just continue to add burdens onto our businesses and keep us at a competitive disadvantage to other states.
Calls for capital gains taxes indicate a willingness to stifle business and further push business out of the state. A capital gains tax will challenge our agriculture companies who are price takers and not price setters. Returning to basic priorities of government and balancing our state budgets that invest in infrastructure, economic stability and basic education will make lower tax burdens possible.
Our State Constitution places k-12 education as a paramount responsibility. The state has made progress in K-12 Education funding the last four years. The state has invested an additional $4.7 Billion in K-12 Education. Nearly 48% of the state general fund is now dedicated to education. We must remember that no matter the zip code, our kids deserve a quality education. Education decisions are best made at the local level with local control and flexibility. Families at the local level bring accountability to their schools and families also deserve to be able to make choices on where their children go to school, be it public or private schooling.
We must work to address our states teacher shortages and address the amount of time our kids spend taking mandatory tests. It is imperative that we give teachers more time with the students in the classroom and giving the students the individual attention they need. While standardized testing has a place, over testing causes significant challenges.
The Affordable Care Act is here and unless changes are made at the federal level, we must use the system that is currently codified in law. The impacts of the ACA are in their infancy stages and it seems that every day another implication impacts our families, business, doctors, medical providers, and citizens. Costs of providing care and insurance have continued to increase at astonishing rates since passage of the bill. In some areas we are seeing longer wait times as more people have accessed the health care system through the expansion of Medicaid. In speaking with those in the medical industry and with our hospitals some of our rural hospitals are being challenged with viability issues, inability to fill staff positions, and with reimbursement rates.
We can anticipate State budgets being consumed by the cost of maintaining the new exchanges, especially when the federal government stops providing the Medicaid subsidy to the state. We will not see the full impact of this unfunded mandate until the 2018 supplemental budget. This is why we need an individual with business experience and knowledge of the Affordable Care Act implementation as the next Senator from the 12thDistrict. Having the knowledge of the act and business will guide us through common sense solutions to providing the best care possible to the citizens of the state. We can look at the issues and combat doctor and nursing shortages by expanding telemedicine, family medical residency opportunities in high demand areas and work with the University of Washington and now Washington State University medical schools.
We must also work through the Affordable Care Act with the implementation of the Medicaid waivers for mental and behavior health. We must continue to support legislation like Joe’s Law that commits to families necessary resources to get loved ones the help they need.
We also must commit to providing health care options through end of life care in a responsible manner.
We all strive for a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. The environment provides our clean air, pristine lakes, outdoor recreational opportunities, air, food and fiber, and our natural resources such as timber. Mother nature has entrusted us with managing and protecting these precious resources.
To ensure proper protection of our environment we need responsible land management and planning tools available through local comprehensive plans and zoning codes. We must also continue to implement land use policies such as the Voluntary Steward Ship Program, Critical Areas Ordinances, and Shoreline Master Programs.
Another critical component to managing our environment is dealing with the continued challenges faced by wildfires in our state. The nearly one million acres burned in 2015 have introduced new challenges to our environment because the wildlife are more concentrated in unburned areas of the state as well as livestock and other animals. The concentration of wildlife and other animals has brought Apex predators closer to our cities, towns and family farms. Not only that, but the once vibrant trees that used to sequester carbon are becoming permanent carbon emitters. Ownership and management of these lands ought to mean something. We can no longer afford to burn up the public and private lands at over 500K acres at a time. We must include dollars for rehabilitation after the fires. The rehabilitation dollars should be used to ensure that re-seeding in the area is done, but only in those areas identified by the BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response) reports. These efforts will also minimize the return of noxious weeds and provide for bank stabilization in hopes of preventing mudslides and floods.
Transportation is critical to our states economy and more especially the economy of the 12thLegislative District. It is imperative that we keep access to our rail lines and keep these lines open. If you loose your rail line, history shows us that those rail lines will not return.
We must also improve and maintain our vital transportation corridors not only to move people but our agriculture commodities to our ports. These same transportation corridors are critical to keeping our tourism and recreation economy vibrant. We learned during the 2014 and 2015 massive wildfires the critical need for a solid transportation system. Without access to a solid transportation system the economic impacts that come to our communities would be devastating.
Access to our ports for our states export commodities is imperative. The port shutdowns placed a significant burned on our local businesses and agriculture who were trying to access foreign markets. We must maintain uninterrupted access to our ports to keep our trade dependent economy strong in the 12th District.
I believe that the constitution guarantees a fundamental and individual right to bear arms that applies to all law abiding Americans regardless of where they live.
I oppose legislation that would ban the manufacturing, possession, ownership and purchase, sale or transfer of a fire arm.
Would support modifications to current Washington law that would allow transfers of guns to family members, between concealed carry holders who have been finger printed, and transfers between friends when the transferee is present at all times.