As Seen on Facebook

January 9, 2018

The 2018 legislative session began yesterday. I requested a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on the derailment of Amtrak train 501 on Dec. 18, 2017. I owe it to my constituents to make sure that the appropriate personnel and agencies are held accountable.

April 19, 2017

“7 seconds” for REAL car tab tax relief

REAL car tab tax relief passed the Senate.

Senator Steve O’Ban describes how his bill, SB 5893, would actually cut car tab taxes. He breaks it down in a “Sound Transit Seven”–in other words, it’s over time.  It’s a 13 second wrap but we call it 7 just like Sound Transit claims projects are “on time” when they are actually years late.




Watch out for false car tab tax relief! The Sound Transit Shell Game in 7 seconds!

Senator O’Ban’s bill to reduce car tab taxes (SB 5893) passed the Senate, but has not had a vote in the House. In his latest video, Senator O’Ban explains why the House “alternative” to his bill is really an elaborate shell game.  Senator O’Ban breaks down the Sound Transit Shell Game in 7 seconds…



April 1, 2017

On Friday, Senator Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, and Senator Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish, asked Sound Transit for documentation to back up the transit authority’s claims of how much revenue they’d lose if they were forced to calculate car tab fees based on the actual value of the vehicles they were taxing.   The request stems from numerous challenges made by Senators O’Ban and Rossi in how Sound Transit calculates its car tab fees.

You can watch the report here.





Thursday, March 23, 2017

Would you like to let the Legislature know how you feel about paying Sound Transit’s car tab taxes?

Come to Olympia, Monday, March 27th at 3:30pm in the John A Cherberg Building for your chance to tell the State Senate what you think about new car tab prices. There will be a public hearing on Senate Bill 5893 which would not allow the state to collect car tab taxes unless the car is honestly valued using the Kelley Blue Book or National Automobile Dealers Association method–whichever is lower!  Monday, March 27 at 3:30pm is your chance to make yourself heard and let legislators know what you think!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

“Slam-dunk” for Pierce County schools

Funding increases for 28th Dist. schools in Senate budget

The Republican-led MCC Senate budget proposal establishes a minimum funding level of $12,500 a year for every student, with additional funding for homeless, low-income, bilingual or special needs students.  For our local schools, this would mean a significant increase in funding from what we have now. Compared to current funding, the state per pupil increases for 28th Legislative District schools would be:

  • Bethel School District — increase of $1,120 per pupil
  • Clover Park School District —   increase of $1,440 per pupil
  • Steilacoom Historical School District –  increase of $1,690 per pupil
  • Tacoma School District— increase of $850 per pupil
  • University Place School District — increase of $1,510 per pupil
  • Yelm School District— increase of $1,930 per pupil

This is a slam-dunk for Pierce County schools. The total net increase in school district funding from School Year 2016-17 to SY 2018-19 under the MCC budget plan would be:

  • $25,274,000 for Bethel School District
  • $20,585,000 for Clover Park School District
  • $5,757,000 Steilacoom Historical School District
  • $32,049,000 for Tacoma School District
  • $8,967,000 for University Place School District

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Property tax cuts for Pierce County

The Republican-led Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) released a $43 billion budget proposal that fully funds basic education and reforms the school levy system.  The changes would mean big savings for 28th Leg. District taxpayers, and unlike the other party’s budget, would not create billions in new taxes.

The levy reform amounts to a big property tax cut for the vast majority of Washington homeowners, including those in Pierce County.  It replaces the hodgepodge of local levy rates that have grown to pay for basic education over the last few decades with a statewide flat property tax rate of $1.55 per $1000 of assessed value.  For the first time, everybody would pay the same rate to support basic education.  The savings for the 28th district show you just how out-of-whack and unfair the system has been.

The levy rate reductions and impacts on average homeowners in the 28th Leg. District would be:

  • Bethel School District (Graham and Spanaway)  levy rate reduction of $3.02/$1000 – $535 tax cut
  • Clover Park School District (Lakewood) levy rate reduction of $2.76/$1000 — $555 tax cut
  • Steilacoom Historical School District levy rate reduction of $1.11/$1000 – $279 tax cut
  • Tacoma School District levy rate reduction of $2.74/$1000 – $551 tax cut
  • University Place School District levy rate reduction of $3.21/$1000 – $887 tax cut



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Property tax cuts and more student funding for the 28th District under “One Washington Education Equality Act”

If the One Washington Education Equality Act becomes law, the overwhelming majority of school districts would see an increase in funding per student compared to the current system, and the 28th Legislative District is no exception. For example, Clover Park schools would see an increase of almost $1,200 per student. University Place School District would see an increase of $910 per student.

Levy reform and property taxes

One of the challenges identified by the McCleary decision was the need to create an equitable funding system. Currently, funding levels for students vary enormously by district—and so do tax rates. In some districts, because of high property values, large amounts of revenue can be generated with a relatively low increase in levy rates. In other districts with low property values, comparative levy rates can be extremely high, yet raise much more modest amounts.

Under the One Washington plan, a “local effort levy” of $1.80 per $1,000 of assessed value replaces the existing maintenance and operations levy. The current statewide average M&O levy is $2.54 per $1,000. In the majority of districts, property owners will see a property tax cut. For some others, there is a mechanism within the plan to use future revenue growth to help pay down the rate.

As you can see in the chart, the plan benefits the 28th District, both in terms of per-pupil funding and property tax relief for the average homeowner.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

  • My column on why the death penalty is still just was published in the Seattle Times on Tuesday. You can check it out here.