Taking It To “The Hill”

by Council 2 Deputy Director Pat Thompson on February 3, 2017
Nearly 100 Council 2 members took to “The Hill” to advocate for critical funding to address the needs of Local Government in our communities. Topping the list of priority bills is HB 1764 which would scrap the current arbitrary 1% cap on property tax increases in favor of a rate that would be tied to inflation and population growth.
            For the last 10 years, Local Governments have been struggling to provide critical service for law and justice, roads, parks, and virtually every service our members provide. Since the current 1% cap does not account for inflation and population growth, every year sets us further behind.
  • Arbitrary caps hamstring our ability to serve the need of our citizens.
  • Give Local Governments the tools they need to provide services.
  • Tying the cap to inflation and population growth just makes plain sense. The cost for essential services rises 3 – 5% yearly.
House Bill 1764 has strong bi-partisan support including its original sponsors: Representative Lytton (D), Koster (R), Springer (D), Nealy (R), Senn (D).
House Bill 1432 / Senate Bill 5353
A critical down payment and new delivery model.
Our public health system has an agreed upon set of core services that the state should financially support so that every community in Washington has equal access to public health programs and services. The legislature is being asked to support those core services, and to allow us to rebuild our system with added efficiency, by providing the following down payment:
$50 Million for Local Health Departments
Local health departments track, respond to, and prevent public health epidemics at the community level – this funding will fill critical gaps in disease prevention and response.
$6 Million for State Department of Health
Our State Department of Health also needs to improve its capacity for disease monitoring and investigations – and expand its laboratory capacity to meet increased demand.
$4 Million for Modernization
Local public health must respond quickly and efficiently to outbreaks. Over the last four years, state and local public health leaders have developed a plan to modernize the state’s public health system, ensuring core services are available everywhere and designating others that can be effectively and efficiently shared between health departments.
House Bill 1594 / House Bill 1595
The Public Records Act needs updates so cities can continue to provide open and transparent government services to Washington residents.
The Public Records Act provides protections for public access to records and strong penalties for agencies and officials who fail to comply. Unfortunately, the law lacks provisions to protect the public from those who misuse or abuse the law. Further, the law has failed to keep up with changing technologies and nationwide best practices, like some form of alternative dispute resolution.
Members are encouraged to contact their Legislators at 1 -800-562-6000 and ask them to support the above Bills.
Visit our website www.council2.com to find your Legislator.