The three state legislators representing Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater plan a town hall meeting for voters on Saturday, March 16, at the O’Brien Building on the state Capitol Campus. Sen. Karen Fraser of Thurston County, Rep. Sam Hunt of Olympia and Rep. Chris Reykdal of Tumwater are all Democrats.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon in House Hearing Room A on the ground floor of O’Brien. Rep. Hunt announced the event today in a newsletter to constituents including links for a campus map and also parking information.
There is no charge for on-campus parking on weekends, but it is not allowed in the residential areas of the South Capitol Neighborhood. Hunt suggested visitors “use the lots behind the Cherberg Building and between the Legislative Building and the O’Brien Building, as well as on the diagonal streets leading from Capitol Way to the campus.”
The town hall comes just days before the March 20 revenue forecast, which is expected to trigger the release of Senate and then House budget proposals for 2013-15. Lawmakers face a $900 million shortfall and are under pressure from a state Supreme Court order to increase funding for K-12 public schools – which could require as much as $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion in new funding this biennium.
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week to strike down Initiative 1053’s supermajority requirement for taxes could open the door to wider discussion of ideas to raise new revenues, because a two-thirds supermajority vote would not be needed to enact tax hikes or to close tax exemptions any longer. But a Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate has expressed hostility to taxes and is expected to try adopting rules that require the two-thirds threshold.