Jay Inslee isn’t a governor you can trust to do what he says, or even mean what he says—except when it comes to his fuel mandate promise. He proved it when he broke his no-new-taxes campaign promise and proposed a $39 billion budget that includes a total of $3 billion in new taxes. And, he is currently proving it in another significant way.
Government transparency is an issue Inslee campaigned on and—like so many other promises he made during his campaign—it’s an issue that is more than disposable to our green governor. Inslee’s website reads, “I believe that our interactions with state government should be transparent, efficient, predictable, and timely.”
If truth were of any concern to Inslee, his website statement would read, “I believe that our interactions with state government should be governed by which special interest group pumps the most money into my campaign.” Inslee is not in the least concerned with government transparency. He is concerned with ensuring his campaign donors—particularly the state employee unions—remain happy.
That’s why Inslee refuses to support a bill that is the model of government transparency. Senate Bill 5329 seeks to open now-secret collective bargaining talks between the Governor and union executives to the public. Quite literally, it is a bill that would make a secret government action—involving negotiations with taxpayer dollars no less—open to the public. You can’t get more transparent than that, but it’s the last thing Inslee wants.
During a press conference yesterday, Inslee “rejected calls by Republicans and others to make negotiations with state employee unions open to the public.” He said, “I don’t think that would be fruitful… We have the final result. It’s available for an up or down vote. That’s what really important.”
Contrary to Inslee’s claims, the outcome of secret negotiations between Democrat governors and the unions that support them has never been made available for an up-or-down vote since state employees got the ability to put themselves first in the budget line by bargaining wages under Gov. Gary Locke. It is always folded into the state budget. That’s exactly what makes open, transparent negotiations vital.
Secret negotiations suit Inslee’s extreme political agenda—without the veil of secrecy Inslee would not have been able to pay state employee union executives back for generous contributions to his campaign by conceding a whopping $867 million for pay hikes. He would have had to face public scrutiny and account for his non-factual claims. And, as we learned this week, Inslee avoids situations in which he must give an account for his claims at all cost.