More Fire Prevention By Thinning Needed in Washington State

The Yakima Herald published an article discussing the use of thinning by commercial loggers on public lands to reduce extreme fire danger. Though not a true panacea to fire risk, thinning can be a vital tool in reducing the chances for destructive fires that are unmanageable due to size and geography.

For too many years now, our state has had a hands-off approach to managing its public lands. This lack of proactive maintenance has made our state’s forests denser, both in canopy and in underbrush – resulting in disease susceptibility, poor sun penetration, limited access, and extreme fire danger.

There are a number of bills regarding wildfire prevention and forest management. The Washington Lens covered many of those bills, and can be viewed here.

Please Exercise Caution Around Rising Water

Without yet seeing the full extent of flood conditions, as we wait for the snow-pack to begin melting, we are already beginning to see high water in our local rivers and streams. Always remember to be cautious in these conditions, and never cross water that is flowing over a roadway.

This year brings us similar conditions to what we saw in 1996, which was devastating to our entire region. It is advised to be prepared both at work and at home for harsh weather conditions, flooding, and power outages during this season.

You can check your local road conditions by visiting our region’s sub-page on the Washington State Transportation Department website.

Budget Proposed by House Democrats Has Spending Far Outpacing Revenue

House Democrats are at it again, with a proposed budget raising taxes by over $8 billion over the course of four years. This doesn’t include the already accrued $3 billion in revenue generated by increased economic activity in this state – increased revenue that would surely dissolve if we were to enact a capital gains tax. The capital gains tax would almost certainly devolve into an outright implementation of an income tax.

Spending under the House Democrat budget would explode by 17% in the first biennium alone. It would be doubtful the constituents this tax increase impacts would see their personal income increased by a matching percentage over that same time. These taxes would negatively affect those most in need of the government services the increase in revenue supplies, adding further dependence on departments already stretched thin – perpetuating the cycle of unnecessary government growth, and further putting our state at an economic disadvantage.

Going forward, House Republicans now know what House Democrats want, and know what the Republican Senate Majority wants and are willing to pass. We will work with our colleagues across the aisle to find a workable budget that can be adopted in the Senate.

Department of Ecology Hosting Webinar on Agency’s Water Quality Program

yakimacowsThe Department of Ecology will be hosting a webinar forum regarding updates made to their Water Quality Program as it pertains to local dairy farmers. They will be taking feedback to the amendments added – and would like to hear input from the community to ensure that their new protocols and procedures match the needs and concerns.
The regulations synchronize federal and state requirements pertaining to surface and groundwater, and applies only to dairy farmers with over 200 head of cattle.

House Democrat Budget Unsustainable and Unpredictable

Last week, House Democrats advanced their budget proposal on party lines. I’ve opposed this proposal as unsustainable and unpredictable. It’s funded with over $1.5 billion in new and increased taxes. I’ve been focused on a sustainable, predictable, and stable budget that works for, not against, Washington families. House Democrats aren’t prioritizing Washington families as they should be.

Increasing taxes ignores the struggles Washington families have faced in this slow and difficult recovery. Private sector growth is the key to getting more money into education and crucial services. We have $3 billion in new revenue for this budget. Let’s focus on eliminating waste and controlling costs. Washington families have to live within their means. I believe Olympia should have to do the same.

Disappointing Attacks on Washington Taxpayers

I have already outlined the dangers the House Democrat’s budget poses to our fragile economy. We should be thanking the hardworking taxpayers who have struggled through tough times. Washington families are just getting back on their feet. We can’t knock them back down with irresponsible tax increases. We need to focus on the $3 billion in new revenue and containing exploding costs in government.

I’m committed to seeing the budget process through. I’m hopeful we will be able to produce better results for all Washingtonians. We’ve already passed the first step. Both parties are talking about the same priorities. It’s through a thoughtful collaboration that those goals will be funded. We can improve K-12 education and reduce class sizes. We can create private sector jobs, and help small businesses. We can invest in mental health services and our communities. We can do it without raising taxes.

Agriculture Skills and Safety Bill Passed

Advancements in technology continue to push the envelope on what’s possible in agriculture. It’s a crucial sector of our local economy. I’m pleased to report the House passed my agriculture skills and safety bill on a broadly bipartisan vote. I want to ensure we can properly transition workers into more skilled careers; protecting important family wage jobs.

Economic growth is important in the 15th District, as it is across our great state. Efficient, safe, and sustainable agriculture will ensure economic growth and ensure Washington is ready for the next generation of farming and producing. That’s why House Bill 1127 is so important. Increasing productivity and safety will reap continued benefits across the state for years to come.

 

All my best,

Bruce Chandler

 

 

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