So far, so good for Pipeline Trail, other local projects

House and Senate capital budget proposals would fund Pipeline Trail, Remembrance Gallery, New Beginnings Homes, other public works

Note: The following e-newsletter was sent to Sen. Chris Gildon’s subscribers April 4, 2023. To subscribe to Sen. Gildon’s e-newsletters, click here. 

Pierce County’s Pipeline Trail is among the projects launched by capital budget proposals in the House and Senate. Eventually this paved trail will link South Hill to Tacoma, part of a trail network extending to Mt. Rainier National Park.


Dear friends and neighbors,

Important local projects would win funding this year under capital budget proposals in the House and Senate. You may not have heard of this budget before, but it is one of the most important bills we pass in any legislative session.

This budget pays for public works and amenities, the things that endure and improve our communities. This week I want to tell you about a few things coming our way in Pierce County’s 25th District.

About the capital budget  

Most of the time, when legislators talk about the budget, we mean something different  – the big state operating budget, about $70 billion this year. The 2023 capital budget is much smaller, about $8 billion, paid for by bonds. Normally the capital budget is not a matter of controversy. We passed our proposal unanimously in the Senate March 24. The House has yet to act.

Most of the time, when projects show up in both the House and the Senate proposals, it is a very good indication we will see them in the final version. Here are the projects for our area that show up in both versions:

New Beginnings Homes – For more than 25 years, New Beginnings Homes in Puyallup has provided a haven for women who need support during an unplanned pregnancy and early motherhood. This grant would build new cottages serving up to 11 families at a time. New Beginnings offers housing at a deeply discounted rate, while creating a “rental history” that will allow residents to rent on the open market. The Senate proposal contains $427,000 and the House proposal provides slightly more.

Step by Step Early Learning Center – This childcare center is due to open in 2024 at 3303 8th Ave. SE, Puyallup. It will be managed in conjunction with a farm, restaurant, bakery and events venue operated by Step by Step, a non-profit agency. The childcare center will serve about 200 children age 5 and younger. Of the $12 million total cost, the state Department of Commerce would provide $2.6 million; Pierce County also has committed $500,000.

Puyallup Elks Roof Replacement – The state would pick up about half the cost of roof replacement at Elks Lodge 1450, 314 27th St. E. Senate proposes spending $359,000 and House proposes a few thousand more.

Puyallup Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2224 – Capital budgets provide $200,000 for critical renovations at 120 2nd St. NE.

Remembrance Gallery – This permanent exhibit at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup would recall the use of the fairgrounds as a temporary detention center for residents of Japanese descent on their way to WWII internment camps. This gallery would be maintained by the Japanese American Citizens League. State would provide $250,000 of total $1.5 million cost.

Pipeline Trail – Pierce County’s Pipeline Trail will be a paved trail along the Tacoma Water Pipeline, running from South Hill to the city of Tacoma. This appropriation will pay for an initial segment between 72nd St. E and 94th St. E. The trail is part of Pierce County’s plan for an interconnected trail network from Tacoma to Mt. Rainier National Park. Senate proposes $1.5 million and House proposes $1 million.

Orangegate and Half Dollar parks – State would provide $1 million for these two parks to be located along the Pipeline Trail. Half Dollar is a 3.5 acre property at 120th Street and 94th Avenue SE in South Hill, and Orangegate is a 150-acre property at 84th Street E. and 46th Avenue E. in the Summit-Waller area.

Chief Leschi School – House and Senate budgets would provide between $11.5 million and $25 million for new HVAC equipment and other improvements at the Chief Leschi School District. The Chief Leschi School is the nation’s largest Bureau of Indian Affairs school, operated by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

Clarks Creek Park – State would provide $350,000 for new multipurpose field turf in the park’s north section.

Other projects remain in play. Some proposals are funded in one version of the budget but not the other. These include appropriations for the Meeker Mansion Heritage Center, Puyallup Food Bank facilities, stormwater upgrades for downtown Puyallup, and improvements at Thun Field.

Income tax ruling is discouraging news for the state

State Supreme Court uses mental gymnastics to approve new income tax on capital gains, flouting precedent, common understanding of tax law, English language

The biggest news story at the Capitol last week was the state Supreme Court’s decision to OK the state’s new income tax on capital gains. This tax was imposed by legislative Democrats in 2021. All Republicans voted against it, including myself. Essentially, the court approved a tactic used by our colleagues to avoid a public vote, declaring this tax on income to be an “excise tax.”

For the last 90 years, until this moment, the Washington State Supreme Court has maintained that an income tax would require a constitutional amendment, meaning a public vote would be required. The people have voted no every time the question has appeared on the ballot since 1934. This time, tax advocates gave up on voters and passed the tax without asking them.

As a result of this court decision, this new Washington state income tax becomes due and payable this month. For now, this income tax applies mainly to wealthy investors and tech millionaires. Another court ruling would be required before this income tax can be extended to all of us. But none of us should feel safe after a ruling like this one.

This 7-2 decision required the court to ignore dictionary definitions, its own prior decisions, and common understanding of American tax law. Every other state regards capital gains taxes as income taxes, and so does the Internal Revenue Service. This new tax is even based on federal income tax returns. The ruling was laced with political arguments, such as the dubious claim that our tax code “perpetuates systemic racism.” By going to such lengths to enact a political goal, the court diminished its prestige as a neutral arbiter of law.

As a direct consequence, companies already are moving out of the state of Washington – Fisher Investments, for example. We can expect the ruling to reduce business investment in our state. Most importantly, the people of Washington have voted 11 times against an income tax. By approving this income tax, the court, like our colleagues, made a deliberate decision to deny them their voice.

For more information on this decision, see:

National Review: Washington’s New Income Tax is Constitutional, Provided You Ignore the Constitution

Forbes: Ruling In Favor of Washington State Capital Gains Tax, a Big Win for Progressives, is an Outlier in the Overall Trend

Thanks for reading — it is an honor serving you!


Sen. Chris Gildon, 25th Legislative District

Deputy Leader, Senate Republican Caucus



Contact me!

PHONE: (360) 786-7648


MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 40425/ Olympia, WA  98504


NOTE: Written communications are subject to disclosure under the Washington Public Records Act.