Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Since the 2015 legislative session ended in July, I've been back in the 42nd District, meeting with district residents, local leaders, employers and others. I value opportunities to meet with individuals and groups throughout the district, and to hear how the decisions made in Olympia directly impact people at home. I thank everyone for taking time to meet with me this summer and fall, and I look forward to taking the feedback I received to my colleagues in Olympia in the coming weeks.
The 2016 legislative session is just around the corner. As 2015 quickly comes to a close, I encourage you to stay in touch with ideas you have for making our state an even greater place to live.
Alcoa Intalco curtailment
This past month, our communities were hit hard by the news that Alcoa would be ending its aluminum production operations in Ferndale and Wenatchee. Even more recently, the Ferndale plant filed layoff notices for 465 workers as part of the company's statewide curtailment efforts. Due to the high supply of aluminum, profit margins continued to thin and, while the Legislature passed a bill to extend tax incentives to aluminum smelters this past session, that wasn't enough to keep the two operations afloat. Washington's less-than-friendly regulatory environment to businesses and the governor's energy tax proposal were factors, as well.
Sen. Doug Ericksen, Rep. Van Werven and I are working hard to find solutions and to connect employees and families affected by Alcoa's decision to resources they need. In the long term, we will continue to work on legislation that cuts the regulatory red tape many businesses in our state face. We recently issued a statement reacting to Alcoa's latest decision, and you can read that by clicking here.
If you have been affected by Alcoa's curtailment, I encourage you to reach out to our offices so we can work on solutions together that move our communities forward. My direct contact information is located at the bottom of this email.
Looking ahead to 2016
The 2016 legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 11, and our state faces a lot of issues ahead. At the forefront is continuing our work to comply with the state Supreme Court's McCleary order that involves K-12 education funding, as well as finding solutions to the court's recent ruling outlawing charter schools in our state. We also have big strides to make when it comes to wildfire planning and fighting, as well as properly managing our forests and timberland.
At the very least, things continue to look up from a tax collection standpoint. Tax collections are showing an increase of 10.5 percent above the last biennium. While this is promising news, we still have a ways to go in improving the overall health and business climate of our state.
In closing, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Please remember I am here to serve you year-round — please don't hesitate to contact me with your questions, ideas and concerns using the contact information below.