The Inslee Administration has failed at nearly every significant step during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former Congressman Rod Chandler is sharing with Shift’s readers his Top 20 (ok, 21) nature photographs of 2020. For the past year, Shift has featured Rod’s beautiful work at the top of our Monday editions of the Daily Briefing. Rod has selected his favorites from the past year, and provided comments to give readers some background on each picture.Today we will share Rod’s #11 – #21 photographs from 2020 and we will post his Top 10 later this week. (Shift Feature)
The complete failure of the Inslee Administration to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to front-line workers will further hamper the state’s economy, and likely force tens of thousands of Washington residents to go even longer without a paycheck. The incompetence is clear – the Inslee administration and health officials knew at the beginning of the pandemic that it would only end with mass vaccinations. So, despite having nine months to prepare for doing only one job – putting vaccines in people – Bloomberg reports that the Washington State Department of Health had actually administered less than 24% of the 357,000 doses it has received. Inslee loves to blame the federal government – and anybody else, really – to divert attention from his shortcomings, but this latest failure of the Inslee Administration during the coronavirus pandemic is all on him. The state was given the vaccines, and it was unprepared to start using the life-saving shots.
Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a long line of Inslee administration failures while he has ruled the state with authoritarian control. First, Inslee’s Employment Security Department (ESD) allowed one of the largest thefts in American history to take place, with foreign criminals stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits meant for Washington workers. Then, showing what happens when no one at ESD was held accountable for allowing the massive theft, the ESD failed to resolve claims issues for nearly 100,000 Washington residents, who were without paychecks due to Governor Inslee’s emergency orders. Perhaps Inslee could claim he was more focused on the virus than the financial scandal, but that can’t be true since his administration lagged far behind other states in testing residents during the spring and summer months, which allowed the virus to spread and unnecessarily kept thousands of Washington businesses closed or severely restricted. Testing did not matter much in state-run hospitals and correctional facilities, where staff failed to follow the state’s own safety guidelines and caused COVID-19 outbreaks to occur in state facilities (and allowed Inslee to release 1,200 prisoners without finishing their sentences). Then, the Inslee Administration failed dramatically to develop a contact tracing program in the Fall, with the state only notifying 6% of those who came into contact with those who tested positive for COVID-19 (the announced goal was 90%). These failures by the Inslee Administration have seriously prolonged the pain and suffering of Washington residents, as the governor must resort to shutting down businesses and schools despite data showing they are not the source for infections. It leads to the question: What has the Inslee Administration done right during the pandemic? (Bloomberg and Washington Policy Center)
Governor Jay Inslee’s Department of Commerce is still touting the fact that Washington does not have a state income tax in its attempts to lure businesses here. Yet, Inslee and the legislative Democrats are again attacking the state’s economic competitiveness by proposing a controversial income tax on capital gains in a legal maneuver to get around a state constitutional ban on an income tax. On the Department of Commerce “Choose Washington” webpage, the Inslee Administration states, “We offer businesses some competitive advantages found in few other states. This includes no personal or corporate income tax.” So, if Washington officials believe it is a competitive advantage for the state to not have an income tax, why are the Democrats who control the state working so hard to remove this advantage? (DOC’s Choose Washington webpage)
Seattle City Club will be holding its annual Legislative Preview virtually this Friday starting at 9:00 AM. The event will feature the leaders of the state legislature’s “Four Corners”, with Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, Senate Republican Leader John Braun, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, and House Republican Leader JT Wilcox. The event will also feature a bonus session on public safety, as Democrat legislators are seeking to impose Seattle-style defunding “reforms” on the rest of the state. Representative Jesse Johnson from the Democrat-only House Police Reform Group and Republican Representative Gina Mosbrucker will provide their perspective on public safety issues. This will be a good opportunity for the public to hear directly how the Democrats want to raise taxes unnecessarily and spread Seattle’s crime and drug problem to the rest of the state. For students under 22, the event is free. For everyone else the price ranges from $20 – $75. (Seattle City Club Legislative Preview)
Jason Mercier, of the Washington Policy Center, points out that the latest state revenue forecast shows that the state’s budget can continue to grow WITHOUT IMPOSING NEW OR HIGHER TAXES. Governor Inslee and legislative Democrats continue to falsely claim that new taxes are needed for the state to maintain current services. Yet the facts provided by the state’s own Economic and Revenue Forecast Council do not support the Democrats’ argument. The reality is that state revenues grew a combined 18.2% in 2018 and 2019, and even kept going up an additional 4.1% during 2020, and the state’s revenue are now projected to increase an additional 7.7% during the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, without new or higher taxes. (WPC Center for Government Reform Facebook post)
The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) reports that 218 inmates (out of approximately 450) have tested positive for COVID-19 in its Larch Corrections Center in Clark County. This is yet another example of Governor Inslee’s Administration failing to adhere to the state’s own safety and health guidelines, and thus causing large scale breakouts in its facilities. Nearly all DOC facilities have reported some form of outbreak, yet corrections centers in Monroe, Airway Heights (Spokane), Walla Walla, and Coyote Ridge (North of the Tri-Cities) have all been forced to completely lock down due to severe outbreaks. The state houses approximately 15,000 inmates, and the latest figures show that nearly 5,000 inmates (and almost 900 staff members) have either been infected or are currently infected with the disease. Besides prisons, there have also been substantial outbreaks in state-run hospitals. Two patients have died and dozens more have become infected at Western State Hospital in Lakewood. Seems that state employees are paying as much attention to Jay Inslee’s mandates as everybody else. (KING5 News and The Patch)
As more people live the cruel existence of homelessness in Seattle and King County, local government officials are failing to deliver on standing up a promised “regional homelessness authority.” The authority is the latest effort by local governments to solve the worsening homelessness crisis which billions in local tax dollars has failed to improve (in fact, it has become worse under Democrat-only control). King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (conveniently) blame the COVID-19 pandemic for their failures in hiring people for key positions (despite millions of private sector employees having managed to switch jobs during the pandemic). The on-going delays are leading many people to believe that the homelessness authority is shaping up to be just another failure of local liberal governments to solve the homelessness crisis. We can expect to see KOMO News produce yet another report sometime next year, explaining how once again local leaders have failed those living in misery on the sidewalks, in the parks, and under freeways of Seattle. (Seattle Times)
Amazon will be opening its fourth Pierce County facility later this year. The online retailer has agreed to lease a 470,000-square foot facility just outside of Joint Base Lewis McChord in Lakewood. It is expected to “create hundreds of full and part time associate jobs.” It is also rumored that Tesla has agreed to lease a 200,000-square foot “industrial space” near the new Amazon facility. (News Tribune)
A second inmate has died of the coronavirus at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. As we have reported elsewhere in today’s briefing, this is yet another failure of the Inslee Administration to adhere to their own health and safety standards at state-run facilities. (YakTriNews)
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