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Articles written by Rep. Joe Schmick

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  • Citizen initiatives to the Legislature: Let Washingtonians be heard!

    Rep. Joe Schmick|Feb 22, 2024

    OLYMPIA–It is with a mix of encouragement and disappointment that the Senate majority leader says four of the six citizen initiatives to the Legislature "might" have public hearings scheduled before the end of the 2024 session. But don't hold your breath. We are now nearly two-thirds into a 60-day session, with only a handful of committee meetings remaining before adjournment on March 8. Despite repeated efforts by Republicans asking for majority Democrats to hold hearings on the initiatives, w...

  • Olympia Update

    Rep. Joe Schmick|Apr 27, 2023

    By Rep. Joe Schmick When our state's budget surplus reached approximately $15 billion last year, many of us felt it was time to give some of that back to taxpayers in the form of meaningful property tax relief. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead, Democrat budget writers continued a decade-long trend of spending just about every dime given to them. They even changed some rules to take money that should have gone into the state's rainy-day fund, just so they could spend it on new programs...

  • Olympia Update

    Rep. Joe Schmick|Apr 6, 2023

    House and Senate budget writers released their 2023-25 state operating budget proposals recently. It was a reminder that taxpayers have been very kind to the state's coffers as revenue forecasts over the past few years have continued to increase. As a result of taxpayer largess and the majority party's proclivity to spend every dime available, state spending has more than doubled over the past 10 years. Has our population doubled? No. According to the Washington State Office of Financial...

  • Olympia Update

    Rep. Joe Schmick|Mar 16, 2023

    OLYMPIA–As Washington state seeks to find a financial solution to fund road construction projects, address backlogs in transportation maintenance and preservation needs, and fix crumbling infrastructure like bridges, one idea that has gained traction (pun intended) is the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax. The VMT is a fee charged to drivers based on the number of vehicle miles traveled, regardless of fuel efficiency. Typically, a user-based approach is a more fair and equitable way of levying f...

  • Olympia Update

    Rep. Joe Schmick|Feb 23, 2023

    OLYMPIA–Growing up on the farm, I heard grandma's sage advice in just about every situation imaginable. "A trouble shared is a trouble halved." "This isn't my first rodeo." "Many hands make light work." When hearing about Kaiser Permanente's change in how its customers could get their prescriptions refilled, what came to mind was this: "It doesn't cut the mustard." Last summer, the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) and the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) voted to allow Kaiser P...

  • Olympia Update

    Rep. Joe Schmick, Washington State House of Representatives|Feb 2, 2023

    OLYMPIA–Various surveys conducted around the state over the last year continue to show that public safety is high on the list of concerns for the average Washingtonian. It doesn't matter if it's someone living in downtown Bellevue or someone residing in the 9th Legislative District. People are feeling less safe and less secure in their homes and communities. According to annual statistics compiled by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), the numbers support this f...