As Shift has pointed out, candidate Jay Inslee is not the same person as Gov. Jay Inslee. Our green governor gave us undeniable proof of this fact last week.
Among a host of other similar promises Shift has documented, candidate Inslee said that he “would veto anything that heads the wrong direction, and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington.” Yet, last week, Gov. Inslee proposed new taxes to the tune of $1.5 billion.
Inslee claims that the needs of the state have changed since he made his promise and, therefore, his historic tax hikes are justified. However, the Columbian (as Shift did previously) called foul. The Columbian,
Certainly, the needs of state government can change over time. The economic landscape continually evolves, and state revenue forecasts can be fluid. But, given the status of the economy, Inslee’s change of heart is all the more curious. For the coming biennium, budget writers are expected to have $3 billion more than in the current biennium, thanks to an improving economy. True, they have been handed a multi-billion-dollar bill to adequately fund K-12 public education — but that invoice was handed down in early 2012 and comes as no surprise. In other words, little has changed to trigger Inslee’s flip-flop. But government’s insatiable desire to perpetuate itself through the contributions of taxpayers has remained inviolate. This, despite repeated messages from voters that should be easy to interpret.
Pointing out that, during the 2012 election, 64% of voters passed Initiative 1185, making it more difficult for lawmakers to raise taxes, the Columbian concludes that Inslee is “starting the process based upon a faulty premise.” Instead of proposing billions more in new taxes and “moving forward from there,” the Columbian suggests that Gov. Inslee “sound more like candidate Inslee.” After all, “Voters have indicated that is their preference.”
He had been asked what he’d do if his fellow Democrats sent him new taxes for his signature. To say you are so anti-tax you would veto your own party’s plan, but then turn around and propose your own, is not quite as brazen as George H.W. Bush’s infamous “read my lips” flip-flop. But it’s up there.
Bottom line: What candidate Inslee promised, Governor Inslee couldn’t keep…
I doubt there will be big repercussions for Inslee or the public officials who overpromised on the tunnel. Inslee was probably going to back new taxes, and the tunnel was going to run into problems — it’s what Democrats and megaprojects tend to do. So maybe the broader public went into both with eyes halfway open.
We differ from Westneat on one point. Given the budget circumstances pointed out by the Columbian, it is perhaps more appropriate to say, “What candidate Inslee promised, Governor Inslee wouldn’t keep…” The word “couldn’t” implies that Inslee did not have a choice, and we know that is not true.