Rep. Drew Stokesbary named to three House committees

31st District legislator looks forward to 2017 legislative session

Rep. Drew Stokesbary was recently appointed to three House committees for the 2017 legislative session, and was named a deputy budget writer for the House Republicans.

The 31st District legislator will sit on the House Appropriations, Finance and Education committees when lawmakers return to Olympia on Jan. 9.

The House Appropriations Committee considers the operating budget and related legislation, budget processes and fiscal issues such as pensions. The committee also considers bills with large budget impacts.

“I am deeply honored to have been appointed assistant ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee. The most important thing state lawmakers do each year is pass an operating budget. This year’s budget will be one of the most difficult to balance in state history as the Legislature fulfills its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education and end school districts’ over-reliance on local levy dollars,” said Stokesbary, R-Auburn. “I look forward to contributing to a responsible, balanced budget that stewards the taxpayers’ dollars wisely.”

The House Finance Committee considers issues relating to state and local revenues, such as tax increases or decreases, and tax preferences. As a business and tax attorney in private practice, Stokesbary has been a vocal opponent of tax increases in the Legislature.

“The governor is proposing more than $5.3 billion in new tax increases – including new taxes on energy, capital income, and even bottled water, plus higher taxes on small businesses, housing and vehicles,” said Stokesbary. “It’s not good enough to just say ‘no.’ I’ll be putting forth alternative tax reforms – solutions that will make our state’s economy stronger and more competitive, as opposed to what the governor and Democrats have proposed.”

The House Education Committee considers issues relating to K-12 education. This is a new assignment for Stokesbary, who previously sat on the House Judiciary Committee.

“We have the most strongly-worded state constitution when it comes to public education. Ensuring all Washingtonians, regardless of background or ZIP code, have an opportunity to succeed is a responsibility I take seriously,” said Stokesbary, who comes from a family of teachers and graduated from Washington public schools. “The Legislature can’t simply pour more money into the school system. We must also implement structural reforms, adopt stronger accountability measures and respect local control. Most importantly, we need to remain focused on improving student outcomes.”

As the Legislature continues to address the McCleary decision, Stokesbary will be the only Republican to sit on the House Appropriations, Finance and Education Committees. “I’ve been examining these issues as part of a team of Republican leaders throughout the interim, and we look forward to introducing our solutions to the Legislature and the people of Washington,” said Stokesbary.

The 2017 legislative session will begin Jan. 9 and will run 105 consecutive days. State lawmakers will be expected to pass operating, capital and transportation budgets.

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