Democrat legislators believe only they get to decide whether the state should impose an unconstitutional state income tax on capital gains
The (Tacoma) News Tribune attempts to include Republicans in the blame for the Democrats failing to provide moderate legislative oversite on the governor’s emergency orders. While the Republicans used a common parliamentary procedure to force the Democrats to be on the record for failing to bring legislative oversight to the governor’s emergency orders, the News Tribune editorial attempted to portray this as a political game by the GOP. The media fails again to put the blame the Democrats for their actions. (Click to read full Shift article)
Democrats (again) remove Washington voters’ right to repeal misguided legislative actions through a referendum, as the liberals struggle to impose an unconstitutional state income tax on capital gains. When the Democrats’ state income tax bill (SB 5096) was first proposed, an “emergency clause” (which banned a citizen’s referendum) was applied to it by falsely claiming that the state needed the funds raised by the tax for COVID relief. Of course, since the first state income revenue would not be available until 2023, and the state being flush with tax revenues and $11 billion in federal funds, no such “emergency” exists. Then, enough moderate Democrats became nervous about this clause, so that it was removed from the legislation in the Senate. Yet last Friday, members of the House Committee on Finance reinserted “emergency” language back into the bill, thus denying Washington citizens the right to mount a referendum campaign to overturn the noxious tax legislation.
It should be noted that an “initiative” campaign to strike down the tax can still be mounted, but it would require twice as many signatures to place it on the ballot compared with a “referendum” effort. The number of signatures required to place is based on the percentage of votes cast in the most recent race for governor (4,056,454 were cast in the 2020 contest). A referendum needs 4% (162,259) of that turnout total and an initiative needs 8% (324,517) to be validated. While it is still possible for the voters to reject a state income tax (for the 11th straight time!), the Democrats want to make it as difficult as possible to reverse their bad ideas. (Law360, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, Secretary of State election returns, and Secretary of State Initiatives and Referenda)
As Shift mentioned in yesterday’s “Overheard on the Internets” section, a prisoner recently freed by Governor Inslee was arrested just two days later after a high-speed chase through Olympia that reached speeds of 120 miles per hour. When Randall Toufetee was finally caught by police officers last Saturday, he stated, “Governor Inslee let me out of prison early and I wanted to have some fun.” Toufetee was one of 18 prisoners who had their drug possession sentences commuted by Inslee (using the controversial Blake decision by the Washington State Supreme Court as an excuse). We should note that the Democrats’ current solution to the problems created by the Blake decision is to make dangerous and addictive drugs like meth, heroin, and acid legal to possess, while the Republican solution is to fix the language of the law to protect the public.
As expected, Governor Inslee again failed to take responsibility for his misguided actions leading to the incident (the governor is certainly lucky no one was hurt or killed as Toufetee raced through neighborhoods). The governor has plenty of practice at suddenly disappearing when things go bad due to his failures. Some prime examples of this behavior have occurred after his dysfunctional management of the Employment Security Department cost $1.1 billion to be lost, his mismanagement of the state’s mental health system caused the federal government to decertify Western State Hospital (costing the state another $53 million), and his poorly managed Department of Corrections medical team is now credited with more inmate deaths than would have occurred if he had not placed a moratorium on death sentences. (KING5 News, Everett Herald, News Tribune, and Seattle Times)
A diverse group has signed onto a letter asking Governor Jay Inslee to veto bills that require educators to attend classes that teach “the controversial and dehumanizing concept known as ‘Critical Race Theory.’” The Democrat-controlled legislature has passed four bills (SB 5044, SB 5194, SB 5227, and SB 5228) which would force educators in the state’s K-12 public school system, at public colleges and universities, and in state medical schools to attend training sessions on the race-based theory. The letter states that Critical Race Theory “teaches people that their individuality is not based on their intrinsic worth as human persons, but as members of a group based on their perceived outward appearance.” The public letter to the governor (included in newspapers ads around the state) was signed by the Center for Latino Leadership, Ethnic Chambers of Commerce Coalition, Washington Asians For Equality, and the Washington Policy Center. To learn more about this divisive theory, we encourage you to read more from Christopher Rufo (who has made national news with his investigations into this extreme liberal philosophy) and the Washington Policy Center. (Washington Policy Center, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, and Christopher Rufo)
More local governments seek to impose their own drug possession laws, thanks to the Democrat-controlled legislature has neither passing a law that allows possession of dangerous drugs nor passing a law to correct the controversial Blake decision made by the Washington State Supreme Court. The court ruling struck down the state’s previous drug possession laws. Mill Creek (Snohomish County) and Lakewood (Pierce County) have joined the growing list of city and county governments which have passed their own ordinances prohibiting possession of drugs. Many other communities will likely do the same if the legislature adjourns without action. (Seattle P-I)
A King County Superior Court judge has stuck down a petition to recall all the members of the Seattle School Board. The court ruled that the three parents who filed the petition failed to meet the legal sufficiency threshold needed to proceed to the next recall stage of collecting signatures. The 11 charges filed by the parents accused the school board members of failing to return students to in-person instruction. (Seattle Times)
The Seattle School Board continues to refuse to clear a homeless encampment next to Broadview-Thompson school in North Seattle. Because of the encampment, in which weapons and drug use are visible and garbage is growing, the school has had to change where its kindergarten-to-8th grade students can enter and exit the building, restricted where the children can play, and has caused many parents to withhold sending their children to school. (MyNorthwest)
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers told Governor Inslee he should stop wasting resources trying to close down the four Snake River dams, when more can be done for the Chinook salmon population by improving the conditions in Puget Sound. The congresswoman stressed that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have repeatedly stated that removing the Snake River dams would do little to improve the salmon numbers. Rep. McMorris Rodgers said, “instead of jeopardizing the clean, reliable and affordable energy we’re making in Eastern Washington, I’m calling on the Department of Ecology to protect Chinook in Puget Sound from deadly pollution, and encouraging all parties interested in saving salmon and the orcas to come together.” (Pacific Northwest AG Network)
Former Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart stated that the Washington State Auditor’s report, which investigated his involvement in practices within the city’s Community, Housing and Human Services Department, was “disgusting politics” and “besmirched my good name.” The report suggested Stuckart put illegal pressure on city employees to approve a no-bid contract to give Jewels Helping Hands $740,000 to run a warming center. The report revealed that a founder of Jewels Helping Hands was a campaign contributor to Stuckart’s failed mayoral campaign which had just concluded when the contract was awarded, in November 2019. Stuckart did not explain how the report was “political” since Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy is a fellow Democrat. Ben Stuckart has experienced many ethical and election law complaints throughout his career. (Spokesman-Review and Shift)
Olympia insiders are saying there is a 50/50 chance that the legislature will need to hold a special session to complete its work on Governor Inslee’s costly and inefficient “climate policies” (i.e. Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Cap and Trade). After a year of refusing to call a special session to provide legislative oversight on the governor’s “emergency” powers, it is ironic that the same Democrat legislators are considering calling a special session to act on things which only the governor wants (and which will be very costly to Washington residents, especially low-income workers and seniors on fixed incomes). The thousands of small business employers and workers who have lost wages due to the unscientific economic shutdowns Inslee has ordered will be pleased to learn that their financial well-being does not warrant a special session, but the governor’s selfish (and costly) political agenda does. It is also worth noting that while Governor Inslee’s bills are the likely cause for a special session, he is not diligently working on reaching an agreement – he is relaxing and riding his bike (remember, he is the sixth-highest paid governor in the U.S.). (Twitter)
Overheard on the Internets
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