I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying a Happy Holiday season! As I begin my 4th year as Chairman of the Skagit County Republican Party I am honored and excited to announce that on Saturday, February 8th (from 5 - 7 pm) the Elect Bill Bruch for State House Campaign Kickoff will be held at the Burlington Corporate Air Center 15452 Airport Drive Burlington (MAP). Don't miss this fun event. Catered food, drinks and live music provided by "Collusion" featuring Dmitriy Chebotarev, Willie Doddridge and Mark Doddridge, and other surprises are all on the agenda!
The campaign is going well, however one-party state control continues to undermine and destroy the stability of Washington State, and things will only get worse if we don’t regain seats in the legislature to fight the current majority party's big government tax and spend agenda. As a State Representative I will be working hard for the best interests of the people of the 10th Legislative District, our three counties, and the state. Electing me will help to bring needed tax relief, transparency and accountability back to our communities. For more information please visit www.billbruchforhouse.com.
The Washington state Legislature convenes January 13th, 2020 and our good Republican representatives are already working hard on policies to undue the damage inflicted by the Democrats in last years session, here are a few examples:
LD 8 Representative Brad Klippert is proposing that school districts and nonprofits "must prohibit male students from competing with and against female students in athletic activities with separate classifications for male and female students if the athletic activity is (a) intended for female students; and (b) an individual competition sport." His bill goes on to say that "male students, means students whose assigned sex at birth was male." Right now in Washington, under Democrat rule, athletes can participate in sports "consistent with their gender identity." Thanks to Brad for this common sense solution!
28th LD Senator Steve O’Ban is sponsoring a bill to repeal a 20 percent increase in the B &O tax that will be levied on private-practice doctors and other independent health-care providers. In last year’s session Dems increased the B&O rate from 1.5 to 1.8 percent, tax increases include firms that provide professional services such as engineering, accounting and architecture. O'Ban said "Medicaid patients who rely on small-practice physicians and other independent medical providers could bear the brunt of the new tax increase, and the doctors who will pay higher taxes can’t raise prices because they are limited by contracted fees with insurance companies." This is a needed fix otherwise the higher taxes could easily lead to more doctors who no longer will be able to treat Medicaid patients.
19th LD Rep. Jim Walsh prefilled legislation for the upcoming 2020 session that seeks to end the use of title-only bills, often called “ghost-bills.” Title-only bills contain a title or intent statement -- but little or no content -- and the intention is to amend the bills with text later, often when it is too late for the public to review or comment. Democrat Legislators used this corrupt tactic 26 times in the 2019 session. Title-only bills circumvents the intent of the state constitution and the public's right to scrutinize proposed legislation. HB 2190 looks to stop the use of title-only bills by requiring that legislation be introduced at least 72 hours prior to a public hearing. Thanks Jim, lets get back to good government that is transparent and open to the public.
Representative Walsh also prefilled legislation to reduce property taxes. HB 2222 would gradually lower the state's portion of property taxes up to 35 percent over the next few years. The amount of the reduction is designed to reflect increased revenue being realized by the state due to higher assessed property values statewide. Walsh believes the excess monies should be returned to taxpayers over three years starting in 2021 which would lower the $2.70 rate for $1,000 of assessed value by 15 percent; 2022 would lower the $1.89 rate for $1,000 of assessed value by 10 percent; and 2023 would lower the $1.70 rate for $1,000 of assessed value by 10 percent.
This is a fair and reasonable measure for property owners who have been given constant property tax hikes, while in reality the state continues to see record budget surpluses. In November, the WA State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council announced that state revenue collections had once again exceeded expectations. The strong forecast is largely attributed to higher assessed property values and taxes. State economists assumed that assessed property values would grow by 5.3 percent in 2020, while the new expected numbers are now reported to be closer to 7.9 percent.
In 2020 you can also expect Democrats to again try to push through a state Capital Gains Income Tax. And yes Democrats continue misleading the general public to garner support for the potential tax by calling a Income Tax on capital gains an "Excise Tax"; Dems are not even close as capital gains are treated as income under the tax code and are taxed as such by the IRS. Simple Fact: Every state in the country with a capital gains tax, calls it an income tax, and those states without income taxes do not tax capital gains.
Any new income tax legislation would be slam against the state's voters, who repeatedly have voted down any proposed income tax legislation when it has appeared on the ballot. Also a state income tax is unconstitutional, in the 1930's the state supreme court struck down the idea of an income tax citing Art VIII of the state constitution, "all taxes shall be uniform upon the same class as property within territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected for public purposes only."
We do not need any more taxes, if anything we should rescind taxes wherever possible (the numbers speak for themselves). Fourth quarter revenue tax forecast released last month, shows an increase of $239 million over the third-quarter forecast from September. Combined with the June and September forecasts, taxes for the 2019-21 biennium are now projected to be $850 million higher than what was forecast when the Legislature adjourned in April. Also the recent November forecast shows a 2019-21 revenue projection of $51.7 billion. The ending-fund reserves for the current biennium total $3.5 billion, including $2.2 billion in the constitutionally protected rainy-day fund and $1.3 billion in unrestricted reserves. The state has plenty of money in reserve, we can and should give some of that extra money back to the taxpayers!
Seattle City Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant recently introduced legislation that would ban residential evictions entirely five months of the year. Her legislation would add to the city’s "Just-cause eviction law", which dictates the circumstances under which landlords can evict tenants. Under her proposal, “Regardless of whether just cause for eviction may exist, all evictions would be prohibited from November 1 through March 31." If enacted Seattle would be the first city in the U.S. to adopt such a law. Recent statistics say that more than 85% of Seattle eviction filings are for nonpayment of rent. If the city of Seattle decides to adapt the legislation expect more lawsuits!
Despite more kill permits the Skagit Valley's growing elk herd continues to create havoc for landowners in the upper Skagit Valley. Farmers in upper Skagit have complained for years about elk severely damaging their fences, pastures and crops. The Skagit County assessor's latest report estimates that elk do roughly $1.4 million worth of damage to private property owners in Skagit annually. To help mitigate the problem, last spring Skagit County deputy prosecutor Will Honea drafted a resolution passed by the county commissioners calling on Fish and Wildlife to remove more elk. Honea believes the elk kill permits have helped, but that the state, tribes and landowners still need to work out a better plan, saying "How we manage them on the valley floor really hasn't been figured out."
So far at least 80 Skagit farms from Sedro-Woolley to Concrete have registered for elk damage. Skagit River Ranch owner George Vojkovich has farmed his 700 acres next to the Skagit River for 22 + years (at its peak he managed about 600 cows). He uses the land to grow grass for his cows to eat in the spring, summer and fall. Over the winter, he buys enough supplemental hay until his cows get back to feeding on the grass. "About 10 or 15 years ago, he says, elk came down from the hills and started grazing the grass down to nubbins." While the elk population has grown his ranch has had trouble producing enough grass to self sustain, forcing him to cut his cattle down to about 250 cows. Instead of feeding cows grass for a majority of the year, now about half of the year he needs to purchase hay.
Vojkovich said "This costs the farm around $25,000 extra each year, it's not just the grass, the elk eat into hay bales, knock down fencing. They bring hoof rot and other diseases onto the grassland. Cattle can even disappear or be scared away, I've lost three bulls, that's $21,000 flat out." Ranchers say their scared cattle will also get loose and wander onto nearby roadways due to damage elk cause in fencing. If the cows are hit by a car the rancher is liable. Additionally there have been numerous elk - car collisions on highway 20, creating very dangerous driving situations.
WA State Fish and Wildlife issues seasonal kill permits to farmers to scare elk away, saying shootings are not intended to reduce the overall size of the region's North Cascades elk herd. In fact WDFW have had previously stated goals of around 1,950 elk for the herd. Current estimates already total about 2,500-2,600 elk in the herd, and between 300 and 500 of those elk live in the Skagit Valley floor. The last WDFW repatriation effort was in the early 2000's, when 98 elk were transported from Mount St. Helens to upper Skagit. The WDFW and many local tribes position has been that elk have a long history in the area, and since time immemorial have used the valley and the area around the valley.
However a 1946 WA State Department of Game report stated that the elk were in fact originally imported from Montana. According to the report, the original Skagit elk herd began in 1912 when 46 elk were transported from Yellowstone National Park, in 1946 15 elk were imported from King County; also in 1948 8 elk were transported from Yakima, and from 2003 -2005 98 elk were imported from Mount St. Helens.
There were about 30 elk harvested during the 2018-19 damage-control season, almost doubling elk kill from the previous season. However Skagit County livestock producers like John Jonasson assert that elk remain a continuing problem, saying "There are not less elk, there are more elk, we chase elk off the hay field about once a week. The elk become nocturnal after being chased off fields a number of times."
The California escalating homeless crisis has got so bad President Trump last week threatening Federal Government intervention; tweeting "Governor Gavin N has done a really bad job on taking care of the homeless population in California. If he can’t fix the problem, the Federal Govt. will get involved!" California by far leads the nation in the number of homeless people as Progressive left policies have led to thousands living on streets and in public parks in San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as the state’s smaller cities. Many businesses are complaining about not feeling safe to go to work as people in tents use the sidewalks for daily defecation, using and leaving syringes; with theft and break-ins being common place (even in broad daylight). Making matters worse, it is against the law to ask the homeless street people to move. Most unfortunately many areas in Seattle have the same homeless, mental health and drug abuse issues as the cities of California, and If policies don't change expect more of these problems spreading into other areas of our state.
It is ridiculous that Democrat Congress continues to try to remove a president with a 51% approval rate that 63 million Americans voted for as a part of an sham impeachment process that majority of voters don't want. Without a doubt the 3 + year impeachment coup has been the most unfair, politically biased, rigged process in the history of our country. The recent House Impeachment charade was completely illegitimate as Trump is now being targeted for removal from office by Democrats for simply doing his job in asking questions about Ukraine corruption, its ties to Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden and Burisma.
FACTS: President Trump asked for nothing in exchange for lethal military aid to Ukraine. He didn’t tie the aid to any actions by the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian president said he didn’t know the aid was under any delay and didn’t feel under pressure. And then the aid was given to Ukraine without the Ukrainians doing anything in exchange (no Quid Pro Quo). To top it off, under President Obama, Ukraine never received this kind of important military aid at all. It is thanks to President Trump, that the Ukrainians are getting necessary aid in the first place.
It is also important to remember that Joe Biden was caught on video – bragging that he threatened to withhold humanitarian aid from Ukraine unless a special prosecutor was fired. Saying “If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” The prosecutor Biden demanded be fired was investigating Burisma – the energy company his son Hunter had an $83,000 a month job working for. That is the very definition of quid pro quo. Demanding an action be taken in return for something else. In this case, it was $1 billion in humanitarian aid that would be released to Ukraine if and only if the prosecutor investigating Burisma was fired. FACTS: Joe Biden withheld humanitarian aid for an investigator to be fired who was investigating the company his son worked for. Hunter Biden had no energy experience. No knowledge of Ukraine. No policy experience. He didn’t even speak the language. The only reason Hunter Biden got the job was because his last name is Biden.
Regarding the Democrat fake impeachment sham, the facts are that there was no due process as Republicans were not allowed any attorneys or witnesses; and not one of the Democrat witnesses was able to establish that the President committed any crime as required in the U.S. Constitution. Impeaching President Trump has always been an election tactic. Democrat Leadership and it's media operatives have never accepted the results of the last election, so they’re trying to interfere with the next one; and Nancy Pelosi refusing to give articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate is just further evidence of this.
OF NOTE: Immediately after the House impeachment vote New Jersey’s Congressional Rep. Jeff Van Drew, one of two Democrats to vote against impeaching President Trump, announced he will be joining the Republican party. Van Drew stated "It was not a hard decision to make...I felt pushed out by the Democrats and I believe that this is just a better fit for me, this is who I am, who I always was -- but there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of Blue Dog Democrats, of Conservative Democrats and I think that’s gone away.” Lets hope more D's wake up and join with Republicans. Of note: Van Drew won his congressional seat in an increasingly conservative district as a Democrat (New Jersey’s 2nd District voted for Barrack Obama twice before voting for President Trump in 2016).
Many Democrats and most all of the Democratic Presidential candidates are supporting the elimination of the Electoral College. John Delaney and Andrew Yang are the only candidates on record who want to maintain it. It seems that since the Dems couldn't win the last presidential election under the rules that have existed for almost 250 years, they now want to change the rules. There is a reason we have the Electoral College; in their infinite wisdom, the Founders created the Electoral College to ensure the states were fairly represented. The Founders did not want a few densely populated areas to speak for the whole of the nation. Of note: According to the A.P. in the 2016 election Donald Trump won 2,626 counties nationwide and Clinton won 487, that means Trump won 84.4% of all United States Counties.
Last month there was a massive win for Conservatism as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party won a huge majority of seats in Britain's Parliament. A decisive outcome to a Brexit-dominated election that should allow Johnson to fulfill his plan to take the U.K. out of the European Union next month. This was no slight rejection. The Tories won a majority of 78 seats, making this their biggest victory since Margaret Thatcher in 1987. Every seat that the Conservatives contested swung towards them as the Labor Party was abandoned by its traditional voting base. There are a host of reasons that the election turned out this way. For many it represented a second referendum on Brexit — a chance to say, “We really meant it the first time.”
The Trump administration economic policies are working as the U.S. Labor Department’s jobs report shows accelerated hiring, and unemployment at a 50-year low. Employers added 266,000 jobs for the month of November, surging past expected gains and continuing growth from October, which saw 156,000 new hires. Family income is now at an all time high and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, the same as in September of this year matching the lowest rate since 1969, according to the Labor Department’s report. Additionally women, Hispanic and black unemployment is at the lowest rate in United States history, and the stock market continues at an all-time record high. Also 2019 nationwide total holiday purchases increased 3.4% over 2018, and on 12/21/19 holiday shoppers broke a single day sales record recording 34.4 billion dollars in sales, showing more proof of the nationwide booming economy.
The Republican National Committee raised more than double what the DNC brought in during November. The RNC garnered about $20.1 million, ending the month with $63.2 million cash on hand, filings with the Federal Election Commission show. The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, raised $8.1 million, finishing the month with $8.4 million in cash. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel stated, "The baseless impeachment charade has only served to bolster our base and attract more voters to our cause, and the result is another record-breaking fundraising month." Overall in 2019 the RNC has raised $235 million to support Trump’s reelection efforts and boost other Republican candidates in 2020. The DNC has brought in a total of $85.5 million. Also it was just announced that the Trump 2020 campaign raised 46 M in the 4th quarter of 2019.
Dozens of Navy pilots, including at least two instructors stationed at a Florida base that was the site of a deadly shooting last month, have written a letter to lawmakers demanding that pilots be allowed to carry weapons while on base. The Navy pilots sent the letter to colleagues for signatures before presenting it to lawmakers on the House and Senate Armed Services committees in the hopes of spurring change after three people were killed in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The pilots said the purpose of the campaign is to "Discontinue what has become a severe irony burdening our service members: that they can be entrusted to fly multimillion-dollar aircraft over hostile territory, command companies of infantrymen into battle, or captain ships around the world, all while holding the nation’s top security clearances, but when back home are not trusted to carry a simple pistol in order to protect themselves."
Thank you President Trump for your decision to appoint two more conservative judges to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Senate just confirmed Judges Lawrence VanDyke and Patrick Bumatay. The court, which oversees cases in the western parts of the U.S. now has more than a third of the president’s appointees. In years past the court has long been known as one of the most Democrat biased courts in the land. Before Trump took office the court had a 11 seat liberal advantage, now it is just 3. Great job, the new addition of judges is helping bring the court closer to a much needed balance.
Thanks so much to SCRP members Judy Billings and Bobbie Butterworth for hosting very successful Elect Bill Bruch for State House Meet & Greet fundraisers last month.
Also, you and your Whidbey Island friends are invited to my campaign's next Meet & Greet gathering Saturday, January 11th in Langley to discuss your ideas on how I can best represent the people of Washington’s 10th Legislative District. Event will be from 2 pm to 4 pm and located at 888 Al Anderson Ave. Langley, WA 98260 (MAP). If you know anyone that would like to attend and/or are interested in supporting the campaign please call (360) 820-1700, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit billbruchforhouse.com.
I am very sad to have to report that longtime SCRP PCO, and last year's Vice Chair Connie Munsey passed away last month from her battle with cancer. Connie was a true Conservative and was incredibly knowledgeable on many political topics, and will be very missed. I recently appointed Paula Clancey to be our new SCRP Vice Chair. Paula is a longtime PCO in Anacortes and has been doing a great job as the SCRP District 1 Coordinator for the last 5 years. Thank you so much for stepping up Paula!
Our next SCRP Central Committee Meeting will be on Thursday, January 16th at 7 PM. We meet at 2021 E. College Way, first floor NW conference room. The meeting will include a full training for the upcoming February 29th Precinct Caucuses. For all SCRP events please don't forget to visit the www.skagitrepublicans.com Calendar Page.
Happy New Year, Respect and Blessings!
Bill Bruch, SCRP Chairman