Liberals who benefit from raising taxes have set up a hotline to report I-1929 signature gathering efforts so they can “make it uncomfortable” for them to do their job.
Governor Jay Inslee and his wife flew lavishly to hobnob with the wealthy elite in Europe and made Washington taxpayers pick up the tab. Just as the omicron variant of the COVID virus was beginning to spread in Washington State last November, Inslee took his wife with him to attend the 2021 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland – where liberal politicians mix and mingle with wealthy environmentalists at exclusive receptions and heap lavish praise on each other. Five other Democrat governors also attended and evidently they respected the taxpayers of their state enough to only fly coach.
Obviously Governor Inslee doesn’t have the same respect for the workers of our state, for he and his wife flew in luxury by having Washington taxpayers purchase business class tickets at the cost of $12,510. The governor is already the sixth-highest paid state executive in the country, with an annual salary of more than $190,000 a year, so he could have covered the upgrade himself if that was so important to him. He also receives a nice pension from the American taxpayers for his time in Congress. This is just the latest sign that the Democrats have been in charge of Olympia for so, that they obviously feel no accountability whatsoever to those they are supposed to serve – and who are picking up their expensive travel tabs. (Click to read full Shift article)
Those who financially benefit from a larger and more expensive state government plan to intimidate those who are collecting signatures to place an initiative on the ballot to prohibit a state income tax on capital gains. This is yet another action by liberal organizations and Democrat politicians to eliminate voters from deciding how they should be taxed. They are doing this because history has shown that voters have rejected a state income tax the last 10 times they have had the chance.
Among the games the liberals have played was inappropriately inserting an “emergency” clause onto the legislation (SB 5096) which prevented voters from repealing the tax through a referendum last year. Referendums are used to repeal laws passed by legislature and require half the number of signatures (162,500 versus 325,000) of a citizen initiative used by voters to create new laws. Recently we saw Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson play partisan games with the initiative (I-1929) ballot title to further delay the campaign’s ability to collect signatures before the early July deadline for turning in petitions.
Now the state government employee unions (which are behind the drive to add a state income tax to provide yet another revenue stream to fund a massive increase in state government that has already doubled during the nine years of the Inslee Administration) have set up a hotline to ask fellow Lefties to notify where they see signature gatherers at work. The belief is the income tax supporters will then send troops out to dissuade people from signing petitions. One of the organizers of the hotline said, “We are going to make it as uncomfortable for them as possible.” We can now add voter suppression to the list of tools liberals publicly admit they are willing to use to force Washington residents to pay higher taxes. Currently the Washington State Democrat Party and the state employee-funded Northwest Progressive Institute are promoting the hotline. (Everett Herald, Washington Policy Center, Washington Legislature Bill Summary, and text of Initiative 1929)
Even Democrat legislators admit they are confused by many of the vetoes Governor Inslee made on bills which had passed with overwhelming “veto-proof” support (sometime unanimously) in both legislative chambers. Senate Democrat Leader Andy Billig (Spokane) said during a “Four Corners Luncheon” of legislative leaders held in the Tri-Cities that, “I was confused by a number of those vetoes. The message did not make complete sense in some of them.”
Republican House Leader JT Wilcox said Governor Inslee’s strongman use of the veto pen is due to Democrat legislators failing to support meaningful reform of the governor’s emergency powers (which the governor has now abused for 790 days and counting). Governor Inslee is now comfortable working unilaterally without consideration for other people’s perspectives. “It is corrosive to our democratic republic to have an ongoing emergency that doesn’t have a logical end,” Wilcox said. “To have the same person responsible to declare the beginning and the same person to say the emergency is over – I think we are seeing the results of that.” (CenterSquare)
We can add the outbreak of tuberculosis to the list of medical failures within Governor Inslee’s Department of Corrections. Over the past few years, the state’s DOC medical administration has been under fire for its failure to provide medical care which has resulted in deaths of inmates and expensive legal settlements and for failing to follow health guidelines which allowed COVID outbreaks at nearly all of the state’s correctional facilities. Now there are reports that a large cluster of individuals connected to the Stafford Creek Corrections Center (in Aberdeen) have been infected with tuberculosis. 17 of the state’s 70 tuberculosis cases are known to be related to the facility. (Seattle Times)
As construction cost overruns have become a regular and ongoing occurrence for Sound Transit, the agency’s Board of Directors approved an extremely lenient fare enforcement policy which will allow anyone to ride free forever on the system. Using “equity” as the excuse, the board approved a system where fare violators who are caught riding the system without paying will be given two warnings before being fined $50 and $75 for their third and fourth infractions. These fines can easily be dismissed. Only on the fifth infraction is there the possibility of a $124 “civil infraction” which “could lead” to a misdemeanor if not paid.
Yet, key for even this very lax system to work is for fare violators to provide identification to the “fare ambassador” (an understaffed unit which Sound Transit studies have found catches only 1 in 23 fare violators). Yet the violators are not required to provide ID. Currently more than 75% of those who are caught by the ambassadors refuse to provide identification and this percentage will continue to rise as word of this new free ride system spreads amongst riders.
When voters approved the latest wasteful Sound Transit expansion (ST3 in 2016), they were promised that fares would cover 40% of Sound Transit’s operating budget. Currently only 5% of the agency’s budget is funded by collected fares. This will continue to decline as more riders learn that there is no penalty for not paying. Thus, in order to pay for the Sound Transit system, taxes will need to be raised. Currently there are three taxes used to fund Sound Transit. A 0.5% sales tax, an 0.8% motor vehicle excise tax, and a 25 cents per $1,000 property tax charged for property owners in the district.
Some mix of all of these will likely need to be increased to allow the system to provide free rides to everyone. And as opposed to not paying fares, there are penalties for not paying taxes.
As a follow-up to the above story, we are often asked who serves on the Sound Transit Board of Directors and who are they responsible to? The board is made up of 18 individuals, 17 of whom are city or county elected officials, along with the governor-appointed Secretary of Transportation. Ten of the members come from King County, four from Pierce County, and three from Snohomish. There is no member directly elected by the voters to serve on the board.
This is an extremely unaccountable system for leading a project which was originally estimated to cost $54 billion and is now estimated to cost more than $113 billion. Thus far, the elected officials who serve on the Sound Transit Board are never evaluated by the voters for their Sound Transit activities. Voters either choose to support or oppose the elected official based on their accomplishments in the job they were directly elected by the voters to perform. (For example, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus will win or lose her next election based on her performance as mayor, as very few voters will likely know she serves on the Sound Transit Board of Directors.)
Thus there is very little, if any, accountability to the taxpayers who are forced to fund the board’s decisions. The Sound Transit website does not even provide an individual email address for each board member (just a generic [email protected]) for the public to ask board members questions or to provide comments. Thus more unaccountability by the liberals who run the agency, as its cost overruns continue to run out of control. (Sound Transit Board of Directors members)
The race to become Spokane County’s next sheriff currently has two Republican candidates vying for the position. Current Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has endorsed Undersheriff John Nowels, who has been in the race for a couple of months. A 20-year veteran of the Sheriff’s office, Wade Nelson, filed for the office earlier this week. Sheriff Knezovich said the former deputy and detective is no longer in the office, since he took a leave of absence a year ago to pursue “other avenues.” Filing for all election offices across the state will be in mid-May (KHQ News)
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