On Wednesday, February 26th, the kickoff breakfast to support Peter Abbarno’s campaign for State Representative was a huge success! Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer served as emcee, the invocation was delivered by Bethel Pastor Scott Collins, and the Pledge of Allegiance was lead by Sophia and Antonio Abbarno.
I can talk about issues until I am blue- and orange- in the face. This campaign is not just about issues, but solutions. We all have a common interest in better schools for our children, more family wage jobs, greater freedoms, and increased opportunities. As your state representative, I will pull up my sleeves and get to work on solutions for our families, our businesses, and the entire 20th Legislative District.
Peter Abbarno, Candidate for State Representative in the 20th Legislative District.
February 7- Peter Abbarno spent the day in Cowlitz County with local community members and Kalama City Councilors Matthew Merz and Steve Kallio. Both Merz and Kallio have endorsed Abbarno’s campaign for State Representative in the 20th Legislative District to replace the retiring Richard DeBolt.
I am honored to have the endorsement of Matthew Merz and Steve Kallio. They are both leaders in the Kalama and Cowlitz County community. Local issues like flood mitigation, job creation, and protecting our way of life in SW Washington are not partisan issues. Solutions take communications and cooperation at all levels. My campaign is about solutions to build strong families and strong communities.
Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, and Candidate for State Representative in the 20th Legislative District.
Councilors Merz and Kallio discussed many local issues with Abbarno, including flood mitigation; infrastructure improvements; homeless policies to address drug abuse and mental illness; the creation and retention of natural resource based jobs; economic development in the City and at the Port of Kalama; and the general feeling Kalama and Cowlitz County families are over taxed and local businesses overregulated.
State Senators Nguyen and Lovelett want to give some people $500.00 as part of their “Universal Basic Income” pilot project in Washington State.
The Bill, SB 6625, would give $500 If you are 18 or older and on government assistance and the $12,000.00 per year SHALL NOT be considered for the means testing used for eligibility for other programs. Persons eligible would be eligible for all the same programs and state benefits with an extra $12,000.00, which would not be considered for the means testing on existing or newly created social programs.
Senate Bill 6625 mimics many of the policies adopted by Democrat Presidential Candidates like Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang. Universal Basic Income only perpetuates poverty and does nothing to open the door to opportunity, teach work ethic, or deliver fiscal responsibility. There is a false premise that a “Universal Basic Income” program is free. It is not free for working families and small businesses.
Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Mayor Pro Tem
According to think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it is estimated that a universal basic income plan slightly less generous than Yang’s would cost the federal government between $30 trillion and $40 trillion over 10 years. According to Crosscut, Senator Nguyen said his 500-person pilot program would come with a much smaller price tag: more like $7 million over the state’s two-year budget cycle.
There are many disadvantages to the idea of a Universal Basic Income; especially as presented by Senator Nguyen. Most notably
There won’t be an increased standard of living because of inflated prices;
Free income may disincentive people to get jobs; making work appear optional; and
Free income to some puts a greater financial burden on working families.
Free income is not “free”! There is a substantial cost to working families who are paying taxes and small businesses- like mine- that are paying taxes. This is a redistribution of wealth scheme that punishes creativity, innovation, and hard work. There are better ways to give a hand up and teach self-sufficiency than free income which is a hand out that only teaches reliance on government.
The Lewis County Seniors organization is important to our community by offering both nutritional and enrichment programs in Lewis County. After county funding cuts, the Lewis County Seniors formed a 501(c)(3) organization to continue serving the vital needs of our community; including nutritional and enrichment programs.
There are tremendous benefits to supporting our Lewis County Seniors. Our seniors built and contributed so much to our community and I believe providing for their wellbeing is the right thing to do. It is also the fiscally responsible thing to do, because we know that nutritional and enrichment programs are highly effective preventative measures to maintaining the quality of life and health of our senior community.
Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember and host of AM1470 KELA’s Let’s Talk About It show.
Listen to Peter Abbarno with Col. Ron Averill, President of the Lewis County Seniors, and Glenda Forga, Executive Director of the Lewis County Seniors, on AM1470 KELA Radio.
The Lewis County Seniors organization provides two main programs:
Simple common sense tells us that people of any age fare much better in life when they’re physically, socially, and mentally active. This is especially true when we begin to grow older, as our bodies and minds begin to lose their youthful levels of fitness and their natural healing abilities. Unfortunately, grave problems can arise if a senior citizen does not make pointed efforts to remain active in meaningful ways.
Eating well is important for good nutrition at any age, but it is even more necessary for older adults because nutritional needs change. Adequate nutrition is necessary for health, quality of life and vitality. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, including living on a fixed income and in rural isolation, many seniors do not eat as well as they should. This can lead to poor nutrition or malnutrition.
Poverty. The leading cause of homelessness in seniors is financial instability. Without the means to afford safe housing, many seniors can eventually end up living on the streets.
Isolation. The death of a spouse can leave the remaining partner at risk of homelessness. For those who have no other family members or close friends, the depression and stress of losing their partner can mean the loss of everything for the one who remains.
Illness. For most of the seniors who are ill and homeless, mental illness is the number one factor. Unable to take care of themselves or manage money and without anyone to help, they often end up penniless and alone.
I strongly believe the programs administered by the Lewis County Seniors will help reduce the rate of poverty and homelessness among seniors in Lewis County; help increase the social, physical, and mental wellbeing of seniors in Lewis County; and help prevent illness that could lead to prolonged and expensive medical and health care.
Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember
Second Time Around Thrift Store
You can donate even the most worn out of clothing and shoes. Even if you think the item is too worn out for another person to use, we are able to sell these items by the pound to be recycled. We don’t get very much but every little bit helps and it keeps these items out of the landfill.
Collect these items in a white plastic bag and mark it with the letters ARC, this will save us from having to sort them out, it’s a win, win for us and the community. The Store is located at 749 S. Market Blvd. in Chehalis and All proceeds help to support the Lewis County Seniors
The Thrift Store is a great place to support the seniors! You can also support the Lewis County Seniors by visiting https://lewiscountyseniors.org/
On April 28th, the Washington Legislature adjourned after passing a $52.4 billion two-year state operating budget. To help fund the budget, the Governor signed a tax package worth at least $830 million over the next two years, despite unprecedented revenue from existing sources.
Some articles have estimated the tax increases to be up to $2.5 billion over the next two years and $7.5 billion within the next four years.
I, like many small business owners with families, was disappointed with the massive increase in spending by Governor Inslee and the Legislature. The investments in the budget, like for counselors and mental health treatment, could have been realized through efficiencies and from existing revenue sources- without increasing taxes on business and working families.
Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember
According to a new report from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC), Washington state can expect another two years of increased revenue. The council anticipates $51.7 billion in revenue for the 2019-21 biennium – a increase of almost $300 million and 12.3 percent from the 2017-19 biennium. That two-year figure is only expected to grow by 2021-23 to $55.154 billion
Here are some of the 2019 Tax Increase you can expect to see (and feel) beginning in 2020:
The state minimum wage increases on Wednesday, January 1, from $12 an hour to $13.50. In cities, like Seattle, the minimum wage is already higher than the state’s and in SeaTac, minimum wage is $15.64.
Family Wage Jobs aren’t created by focusing on the word ‘WAGE’. Family Wage Jobs are created by focusing on the word ‘JOBS’. Government needs to incentivize economic growth, encourage business development, eliminate overburdensome regulations, and invest in an education system that gives students greater career and college ready options. The emphasis should be on Job Creation.
Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember
In 2016, Voters passed Initiative 1433 to increase the state’s minimum wage every year from 2017 to 2020. Washington’s minimum wage was $9.47 an hour; the eighth highest minimum wage in the country. Some municipalities, like the City of Seattle, increased minimum wage to $15 an hour.
A report released by the University of Washington in 2017, which was commissioned by the Seattle City Council, found that although the economy absorbed the first wage increase from $9.47 an hour to $11 an hour, things were different when wages increased again. When the wage increased to $13 an hour for some small employers and $15 an hour for some large employers, it caused a reduction in hours for low-wage workers. The UW report, says they found an approximate 9 percent decline in the number of hours for those earning less than $19 an hour. That offsets the 3 percent increase in pay workers got, having a negative impact overall.
To the disappointment of many Washingtonians; especially, in rural Washington, the State is one step closer to replacing the state gas tax with a new system where drivers are tracked and charged on a per-mile basis.
Elected Officials from Seattle are already trying to find ways to use the money for mass transit projects in Seattle and King County.
Rural Washingtonians that drive longer distances for services and employment are going to be disproportionately impacted by a Road Usage Charge. The tax is intrusive by monitoring residents and punishing them for seeking opportunities in rural communities. Privacy and Commonsense went out the car window on this policy.
Washington and other states face a funding problem with more electric cars, hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles generating less gas tax revenue. The gas tax does not automatically keep pace with inflation or rise and fall with changes in gas prices.
For many years, Government has encouraged energy efficiency! Now, Government is doing a 180 Degree turn. The policy punishes both individuals for seeking energy efficient vehicles and businesses for seeking transportation cost savings.
Gas taxes are the state’s biggest transportation funding source, accounting for 39 percent of revenue. According to the transportation commission, Washington residents pay an average of $225 in gas taxes for every 12,000 miles they drive.
Over the past seven years, about 2,000 drivers have participated in a pilot project driving more than 15 million miles to test a mock road usage charge of 2.4 cents per mile. According to Transportation officials, road usage charges could be tracked in several ways, including odometer readings and GPS devices.
The Road Usage Charge will cost Washingtonians more money and more freedom. The pilot project evidenced that drivers would pay more per year with a tax on each mile driven and will be tracked inside and outside of the State of Washington. I urge our lawmakers- if the RUC passes- protect the money as a user fee and do not allow it to be syphoned off to mass transit and unrelated programs.
I was opposed to increasing the property tax levy in the first place and was very disappointed to see taxes increase in the City of Centralia. The City Council approved a $139 million biennial balanced budget that preserves and increases reserves. Any increase in taxes or fees was unnecessary, but I could not procedurally rescind it outright.
The Motion added to funds in the “Community Projects” line item and allows local community organizations to apply for the funding. Last year, Reliable Enterprises received the funds for a Rent Well Program.
The line item is used to support the Lewis County Seniors, Severe Weather Shelter, and other organizations that give back.
At the same meeting on December 10th, the City Council approved a budget amendment that increased the budget by almost $5 million. The Centralia City Staff Recommended no increase in the property tax levy.
We, as a City Council, have the choice of higher taxes and bigger government or lower taxes and efficient government. I agreed with the city staff recommendation that no tax increase was necessary. I wanted to give the money back to the taxpayers through non-profit organizations that can stretch dollars much farther and spend dollars much better than government.
Cascade Mental Health Care’s sixth mental health forum this week was highlighted the efforts of many local and regional orgnaizations addressing homelessness, substance abuse, mental health, and the lack of housing.
I want to thank the amazing staff at Cascade Community Health and all the presenters this year. I was honored to join the panel for my fifth year, said Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Councilmember and local attorney. Our community, like many, is facing many homelessness issues. It is reassuring to see the cooperation and hope in the room of presenters- from faith based organizations to government agencies.
The panel included: Centralia City Councillor Peter Abbarno, 20th legislative district Representatives Richard DeBolt and Ed Orcutt, 20th legislative district Senator John Braun, 19th legislative district representative Brian Blake, Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza, and, County Commissioner Edna Fund.
A message needs to be sent to Olympia and Seattle that cookie cutter one sized fits all programs do not work in Lewis County. Rural communities in Southwest Washington, outside of the Puget Sound, have different problems that require local control and local solutions, added Abbarno. Our local volunteers and treatment providers know the clients and community and should have greater flexibility to address the needs of the most vulnerable in the community.
According to the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress and the State of Washington Homeless Housing Crisis Response System Strategic Plan, the fastest growing population of homeless is children, And, by 2024, the number of homeless seniors will double.
There were 11 speakers from various organizations including the Hub City Mission- Bethel Church, Cascade Community Health Care, Twin City Transit, United Way, and Providence Centralia Hospital.
Homelessness will not be solved by housing alone. Homelessness has many causes that need to be addressed in their totality. I look forward to working on these issues and programs that measure success NOT by how much money is spent, but how many families are lifted out of poverty and end the intergenerational cycle.
If you missed the forum, the video from Cascade Community Health is below:
According to King5 News, as well as other outlets, the King County Council approved $100,000 in funding Wednesday for a program that would bus the homeless outside the county.
King County budgeting to bus homeless out of King County (or adjacent counties) is completely unacceptable; especially, considering the mismanagement of this issue by King County and City of Seattle.
Homelessness and poverty are complex issues with many causes that can’t be addressed in a vacuum! Homelessness in Seattle and King County can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t be addressed by bussing people to ill-equipped and under-funded communities outside of the Puget Sound.
King County and Seattle do not ensure strong and adequate family support systems are in place, long-term housing has been secured, or that appropriate services are available. Furthermore, the individuals “contracts” his or her right to ever return to King County. Contracting away the constitutional right and personal liberty to travel freely is against public policy and should not be found enforceable.
Communities outside of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties must stand together and oppose this approach. Seattle has among the highest percentage of homelessness in the country and that is a result of THEIR failed policies. Their response to homelessness is not acceptable and could financially impact many counties and municipalities! This does nothing to address drug addiction, mental illness, education/training, or other causes of poverty or homelessness.
King County and Seattle are much better equipped to address their community’s needs. Placing the financial and emotional burden on our community and the community of others is not acceptable. The services provided can be found at kingcounty.gov/depts/health/locations/homeless-health.aspx.