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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are safe and enjoying the beautiful fall colors in Southwest Washington. As your state representative from the 18th District, I want to remind you that I’m working for you throughout the year. I also want to bring you up to date on a few issues happening in our state and some of the things I have been working on during the interim.

High Gas Prices Continue to Hit Washingtonians Hard

I continue to hear about the high gas prices in Washington and I share your concern. Many families are struggling to make ends meet and there appears to be no significant relief in sight. Rising gas prices have a direct impact on our daily lives and the overall economic health of the state.

Washington currently has the third highest gas prices in the nation, and earlier this year our state was at the top of the list. While prices have dropped slightly due to the seasonal change, prices continue to average near $5 a gallon across all grades. Many families and businesses are being hit by these prices, especially those who can least afford it.

The governor would have us believe the oil companies are to blame. However, his cap-and-trade program is the real culprit. Since it took effect in January, fuel prices have increased by 50 cents per gallon in Washington. That’s an average annual increase of about $500 more for fuel for Washington families.

House Republicans are working on several real solutions to address the rising cost of fuel, including giving taxpayers some of the excess revenue collected through the cap-and-trade program, which has already tripled expectations. For example, the Carbon Auction Rebate (CAR), program introduced by Rep. April Connors, R-Kennewick, would send a $100 rebate on July 1, 2024, to registered vehicle owners in Washington state. Click here to learn more about this innovative program and how it would work.

Long-term Care Insurance Program and Payroll Tax Hurts Struggling Families

In addition to the high gas prices in Washington, you’ve probably noticed your paycheck has been smaller, as well. That’s because the payroll tax to cover the cost of the state’s new long-term care insurance program went into effect on July 1. House Republicans have strongly opposed this program and tax since the majority party passed House Bill 1087 in 2019.

The legislation created a new payroll tax of $0.58 per $100 of earnings for virtually everyone working in Washington state unless they were able to meet the narrow criteria allowing them to opt out. The new tax will cost those earning $50,000 a year nearly $300 annually.

This new payroll tax is unfair and financially burdensome for people living paycheck-to-paycheck and facing high inflation. Someone could also pay into the system for the duration of his or her career and never need to use the benefit. Additionally, someone could pay into the system for years, move to another state to retire and never get to use the benefit.

The limited $36,500 benefit is not available until July 2026, and does not provide adequate coverage, which could give someone a false sense of security about their future long-term care needs.

This unpopular tax is another program House Republicans are trying to repeal or improve.

Legislative Activities in the Interim

Although our next session isn’t scheduled until January, I’m still participating in many legislative duties and activities in the 18th District.

I recently visited Battle Ground School District as part of a school tour facilitated by the Washington Association of Maintenance and Operation Administrators. We visited Pleasant Valley Middle School, which is home to 398 student grades 5-8. The school was built in 1976 and needs to be replaced. Among other issues, the roof is 50 years old and school security is a problem due to the age of the building. This is just one example of the many projects in our communities that need financial assistance from the capital budget. As the assistant ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee, I will be looking for ways to get more funds to our schools, especially those in rural areas that need it the most.

Here are some of the events I’ve attended and participated in this interim:

  • The special session to fix the state’s drug law.
  • Held post session town halls at the Battle Ground Community Center and at WSU Vancouver.
  • Volunteered at Clark County Sheriff Office Jeremy Brown Remembrance Waterfront Walk, commemorating Detective Brown on the two-year anniversary of his murder.
  • Attended 9/11 Memorial.
  • Attended Appreciation and Special Recognition for Future Military service and their families.
  • Attended CCSO Town Hall.
  • Attended event to support the Police Activities League.
  • Went on a ride along with Woodland Police and Clark/Cowlitz Fire Department.
  • Attended event to support the Battle Ground Education Foundation.
  • Toured River Home Link, Prairie HS, Pleasant Valley, Glenwood Heights, all in Battle Ground School District.
  • Attended multiple meetings regarding the closure of Larch Mountain correctional facility.
  • Visited the Battle Ground Adventist Community Services Diaper Bank.
  • Attended the Clark County Senior Hero Awards ceremony.
  • Toured a Vancouver Homeless Shelter, Legacy Health Medical Center, Cascadia Technical Academy, Fourth Plain Community Commons grand opening, and the Interstate Bridge Transportation Committee Tour.
  • Participated in a Capital Budget Committee school tour (image below).

Going forward, I plan to participate in a House Consumer Protection & Business Committee tour, meet with Clark County Councilors, tour Battle Ground Health Facilities, attend the Veterans Day Parade, and be back in Olympia for Committee Assembly Days in December among other things.

Please Stay in Touch

The next legislative session begins on Jan. 8. I’m looking forward to being back in Olympia working on the issues that matter most to you. Thank you for your continued input and support. I appreciate hearing from you, and I value your feedback, insight, and opinions. Please continue to reach out to me this interim via phone or email to share your ideas and concerns. My contact info is listed below.

It’s an honor to serve you,

Sincerely,


Stephanie McClintock

State Representative Stephanie McClintock, 18th Legislative District
representativestephaniemcclintock.com
466 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
Stephanie.McClintock@leg.wa.gov
(564) 888-2271 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000